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May 24, 2017

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N. Korea to convene parliamentary session on Sept. 25: news agency

SEOUL -- North Korea announced Wednesday that it would convene a parliamentary session later this month, which analysts said was likely to handle laws aimed at building economic cooperation with China.

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said the Supreme People's Assembly would meet on Sept. 25, but gave no other details.

The communist state usually convenes its rubber-stamp parliament once or twice a year to pass government budgets and approve personnel changes.

The last session was in April and was the first to be held under the regime of new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Professor Yang Moo-jin at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said the parliament was likely to pass laws related to recent agreements with China on developing North Korean economic zones near their joint border.

"It is also likely to endorse changes in the government cabinet and other key government offices," he said.

The agreements signed with China last month covered the setting up and operation of management committees in the economic zones.

The two countries also agreed to cooperate on electricity supplies and agriculture.

China is the sole major ally and economic lifeline for the impoverished but nuclear-armed North, providing food and fuel aid to the country, which is beset by chronic shortages, a moribund economy and international sanctions.

Professor Kim Yong-hyun of Dongguk University said the parliamentary session could also adopt legislation aimed at expanding internal economic reforms, including incentives for workers and farmers to increase production.

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