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(LEAD) N. Korean parliament session closes without reform announcement
SEOUL, Sept. 25 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament closed its session Tuesday, the country's state media announced without making reference to economic reforms widely expected to come from the unexpected meeting of legislators.

   Approved in the Supreme People's Assembly meeting, chaired by Deputy Choe Thae-bok, were only a compulsory 12-year education system and personnel decisions at its presidium, the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in an English-language dispatch.

  


The meeting ended with Choe delivering his closing address, KCNA said, diverging from heated media speculation that discussion of a reformist drive would take center stage of the gathering.

   Domestic and foreign media closely followed the session with expectations that it would deliberate on its reportedly ongoing push to renovate its agricultural production system.

   The country is widely believed to be forging ahead with an agricultural reform to increase farm production and subdue rising food prices.

   The North announced the opening of the second annual parliamentary session in early September, fueling speculations over a drastic reform decision to come. The rubber-stamp parliament in charge of making policy as well as constitutional and personnel decisions commonly meets once every year.

   Referring to Tuesday's parliamentary approval, the KCNA report said, "Ordinance of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly on enforcing universal 12-year compulsory education was promulgated at the session." DPRK is the acronym for the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

   Currently the country has an 11-year compulsory education system.

   Even if the North had approved a reform drive in the latest session, it may shy away from announcing it now for fear of potential humiliation if the reform efforts fail, a Seoul government official said earlier Tuesday.

   "The North could possibly announce the results (of the reforms) later after completing its overall assessment," the official said.

   The country's previously botched reform drive in 2002, called the "July 1 measure," was announced only later through Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan, in that vein, he said.

   pbr@yna.co.kr
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