Seoul, Apr 12 (AFP) North Korea’s parliament has met to rubber-stamp Kim Jong Un’s policies, but the leader himself was conspicuously absent as he prepares for two key summits with South Korea and the US.

Kim had been present at six out of eight previous Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) sessions held since he officially became party head six years ago, according to the South’s Unification Ministry.

But he appeared to skip the meeting, with the official KCNA news agency failing to mention his attendance in its report of the meeting today.

Photos carried by the North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed an empty seat at the centre of the head table in Pyongyang’s cavernous Mansudae Assembly Hall, presumed to be Kim’s.

Instead, the session focussed on North Korea’s budget and changes in leadership personnel.

Kim is due to meet with the South’s Moon Jae-in later this month, and is expected to meet US President Donald Trump weeks later.

On Monday he briefed party members on talks with the South and the “prospect” of dialogue with the US, in an unusually well-publicised politburo meeting.

Officials in the South had earlier said they were watching the SPA closely for “any changes to policy directions”. (AFP) AQS AQS

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.