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Seoul closely monitoring N. Korea over expected party plenum

24.12.2019 4429
Seoul closely monitoring N. Korea over expected party plenum
South Korea is closely monitoring North Korea in connection with when a previously announced session of the ruling Workers' Party will be held, an official said Tuesday, amid concern Pyongyang could decide to switch to a provocative tack during the session, Yonhap reports.
North Korea earlier said it will hold a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party in the "latter part of December" and decide on "crucial issues," raising speculation that a major policy shift might be forthcoming, possibly in relation to its nuclear talks with the U.S.
In an apparent prelude to the session, the North's state media said Sunday leader Kim Jong-un has presided over a meeting of the party's Central Military Commission and discussed "important issues" related to national defense, but it has yet to make any further report on the earlier announced plenary meeting.

We are closely monitoring related situations," the unification official said.

What policy change will come out from the session remains uncertain, but experts say North Korea could declare an end to its denuclearization talks or scrap its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.
The North declared the moratorium on nuclear and ICBM tests when the central committee held a plenary meeting in April last year.
The highly symbolic peace gesture led to full-blown diplomacy with the U.S., including three meetings between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump. But the dialogue has stalled since their second summit in Hanoi collapsed without a deal in February.
Amid months of deadlock, Pyongyang has warned Washington of an unwanted "Christmas gift," urging it to come up with a new proposal by the end of the year to move the talks forward.
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