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As the new president of the Supreme People's Assembly, Choe is technically head of state, although real power in North Korea is wielded by Kim and his immediate family.

Three of the senior officials involved in nuclear negotiations with the United States have been re-elected or newly elected to members of Kim Jong Un's state commission, including former military intelligence chief Kim Yong Chol, who travelled to Washington and met Trump twice ahead of Kim Jong Un's two summits with the US president past year.

South Korean media have described Choe as a political heavyweight and the number two man in North Korea behind Kim.

The 687 lawmakers in the nominal parliament are elected for a period of five years, while turnout at the polls in March was over 90 per cent.

Leader Kim Jong Un has made economic development the centerpiece of his strategy and told officials this week that building a self-supporting economy would be a blow to the "hostile forces" that have imposed sanctions on the North Korea.

Kim Jong Il, who promoted a "military first" policy, had held the title of Chairman of the National Defense Commission, while his own father, the late state founder Kim Il Sung holds the title of Eternal President.

US President Donald Trump looks on as South Korea's President Moon Jae-in listens to a translator during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un takes part in the 4th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang in this April 10, 2019, photo released April 11, 2019 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency.

But the failure to reach agreement at their second summit in Hanoi - which broke up without even a joint statement - has raised questions over the future of the wider process. But analysts say Choe now holds a position of rare prominence for anyone outside the Kim family, which has ruled North Korea since it was established in 1948.

Kim Jong-Un told top officials to push ahead with self-reliance to undermine sanctions. But he was adamant in his stance that the sanctions would remain in place until Pyongyang commits to giving up its entire nuclear arsenal.

President Donald Trump said U.S. sanctions against North Korea should "remain in place" in a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, at the White House on Thursday.

I enjoy being with the Chairman.

Jon, who spoke through Mr. Kim Chin Il, First Secretary of the Embassy, an interpreter, said although DPRK had established relationship with Nigeria, much could be done to deepen it. "I think it's been very productive".

Choe was one of the three officials sanctioned by the United States in December over allegations of rights abuses.

"Indeed, North Korea has beefed up significant resilience against sanctions over a long period of time", he added.

There is little known about Mr Pak's replacement, Mr Kim Jae Ryong, but his position will be key as Mr Kim Jong Un doubles down on economic development.

When the right time comes, "a lot of countries will be helping", he said.


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