Construction Booming in North Korea, But Who's Paying?

Kono asks Moon to discuss abductions with Kim

North Korea held the annual session of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) without its leader Kim Jong-un, state media reported on Thursday.

"Meetings are being set up right now between myself and Kim Jong-un", he said. I think it will be terrific.

North Korea has intensified diplomatic efforts recently, at a time when inter-Korean relations have been improving since the North chose to take part in the February 9-25 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics hosted by the South.

"Under the direction of the strategic state, that which has been firmly lifted up is the achievement of the supreme leader", Choe said, using what may have been a euphemism for North Korea's nuclear weapons policy. But it is thought to be coming on board with the worldwide sanctions regime to rid Pyongyang of its nuclear weapons program.

China has been "really terrific in helping us get to some kind of a settlement", Trump added. He argued that Kim would be looking to his own interests, including his country's economy and the "sustainment of his regime", rather than other historical agreements.

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The Trump-Kim meeting, if realized, will follow an inter-Korean summit on April 27.

The parliament assembly had been in focus due to the flurry of diplomacy recently seen centering on North Korea including the inter-Korean summit, with policymakers keen to see whether Kim Jong Un would offer comments that would lend insight to his stance on related affairs.

At the same time, he said he was not advocating regime change for North Korea and had never done so.

At a separate congressional hearing, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the aim was for a negotiated solution to the North Korean crisis.

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