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N. Korea's Politburo Discusses COVID-19 Danger; How can N. Korea Counter Economic Impacts of COVID-19? Updated: 2020-04-13 17:25:21 KST

North Korea held a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea over the weekend.
A joint resolution was adopted to take "more thorough state measures for protecting life and safety of people from the great worldwide epidemic disease."
Let's take a step further. Joining us live in the studio is Dr. Go Myong-hyun, researh fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
It's great to see you back, Myong-hyun.

So, tell us about this meeting of the Political Bureau of North Korea's Central Committee of WPK. It was also a meeting with the State Affairs Commission and the Cabinet of North Korea. What are these committees?

**The Supreme People’s Assembly usually meets in April every year to address the state budget and Cabinet reshuffling, but it has been closely watched from outside for any glimpse into the reclusive state's stance on foreign affairs, including its stance on denuclearization talks with the United States.

North Korea's state news, the KCNA, gave much praise to the reclusive state's
"strict, top-class, emergency anti-epidemic measures" and "consistency and compulsoriness in the nationwide protective measures." Your assessment?

Yet, photos released by state media showed none of the committee members who attended the meeting, including North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, were wearing masks nor sitting unusually far apart from each other. If they are indeed, how are they keeping the pandemic under control?

Let's discuss the joint resolution that was adopted. Any details worth pointing out?

There were clear references to economic affairs - plans to push ahead with economic construction and stabilizing the people's livelihood this year. What does this indicate and how will the Kim Jong-un regime accomplish this?

North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament held a session Sunday, two days later than scheduled.
The 14th Supreme People's Assembly gathered for a third session in Pyongyang. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was absent, so Choe Ryong-hae - second in ranking - chaired the parliamentary session.
What is your assessment of the North's parliamentary session?

Its budget for the new year was discussed. Theey increased their budget for health while close to 50 percent of the entire budget was earmarked for economic construction.

North Korea, like every other country in the world, needs to counter the economic impacts of COVID19. What can it really do?

During the meeting over the weekend, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's powerful younger sister was reinstated to the Political Bureau of the Central Committee.
Analysts believed Kim Yo-jong had been removed from the position last year after the collapse of the second summit between Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi.
What does this restoration imply? Does it mark Kim Yo-jong' rise in the isolated state?

Are there other reshuffles you're keeping an eye on?

Regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, North Korea appears to be marching ahead with its own schedule. North Korea conducted nine missile launches over four separate event in the month of March alone. Can Pyongyang continue its weapons development even during this pandemic?

Dr. Go Myong-hyun, researh fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, many thanks as always for your valuable insights. We appreciate it as always.
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