Under late leader Kim Jong Il, North Korea typically held a parliamentary meeting once a year. But Kim Jong Un held an unusual second session last September in a sign that he is trying to run the country differently from his father, who died in late 2011.
Parliament sessions, which usually are held to approve personnel changes and budget and fiscal plans, are scrutinized by the outside world for signs of key changes in policy and leadership.
At a session last April, Kim was made first chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission, the body’s top post.
At Monday’s session, Kim Kyok Sik, North Korea’s defense minister who is believed to have been responsible for deadly attacks on South Korea in 2010, was appointed to the National Defense Commission. North Korea also named Choe Pu Il, a general in the Korean People’s Army, to the commission.
On Sunday, Kim Jong Un presided over a separate plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party, a top decision-making body tasked with organizing and guiding the party’s major projects. The meeting set a ‘‘new strategic line’’ calling for building both a stronger economy and nuclear arsenal.
North Korea’s ‘‘nuclear armed forces represent the nation’s life, which can never be abandoned as long as the imperialists and nuclear threats exist on Earth,’’ according to a statement issued by state media after the meeting.
Sunday marked the first time for Kim to preside over the committee meeting. The last plenary session was held in 2010, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry, and before that in 1993.
Associated Press writers Youkyung Lee in Seoul and Robert Burns in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report. Follow Foster Klug on Twitter at twitter.com/APKlug