North Korea parliament holds rare meeting, no word on reforms

SEOUL Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:37am EDT

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SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea held a rare second session of parliament on Tuesday but skipped any mention of economic reforms the impoverished state is widely thought to be planning under young leader Kim Jong-un.

According to state news agency KCNA the rubber stamp body, which last met in April to formally nominate Kim as leader after the sudden death of his father in December, simply agreed to extend compulsory schooling by a year to better "train able revolutionaries."

It is only the third time in the past decade that the Supreme People's Assembly has met more than once in the same year.

There had been speculation that third Kim to rule the isolated state might use the event to confirm changes to investment laws in the hope of winning more funding from Chinese companies.

North Korea depends heavily on its giant neighbor for economic support but faced unusual and very public criticism recently from one Chinese company about the risks of doing business in the reclusive North.

KCNA said the extended schooling period reflected the "noble intention of the dear respected Kim Jong-un manifested in his ardent love for the younger generation and the future."

The assembly appointed new deputies and replaced the chairman of the budget committee but the KCNA report made no mention of whether any economic or agricultural reform measures were discussed or adopted.

North Korea plans to allow farmers to keep more of their produce in an attempt to boost agricultural output, a source knowledge about Pyongyang's policies told Reuters, although that move would not come at the parliamentary session, he said.

But the source had said the assembly was likely to discuss "economic adjustment".

(Reporting by Jack Kim, Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)

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