North Korea is expected to convene a session of its legislature, the Supreme People's Assembly, on Thursday, while US President Donald Trump is expected to hold a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in later on Thursday.
It is South Korean President Moon Jae-in's first meeting with Trump since Trump's unsuccessful summit with Kim in Vietnam in February.
Trump did not rule out a third summit with Kim, but the US President said that future talks with North Korea on denuclearization would need to be "step-by-step" and that pushing hastily for an agreement would not produce a good outcome. The two sides gave different reasons for the abrupt end in talks. Moon is a proponent of a "good enough deal" that would agree to a small step in the denuclearization process, such as North Korea dismantling Yongbyon in exchange for the US declaring the end of the Korean War or opening a liaison office in Pyongyang.
Kim Jong-Un told top officials to push ahead with self-reliance to undermine sanctions.
In a meeting with senior officials Tuesday, Kim ordered them to display "an attitude befitting the masters of the revolution and construction under the prevailing tense situation and thus follow through on the new strategic line of the Party", KCNA reported.
Oil prices slip as OPEC mulls output hike, USA stocks build
It said that US, Brazil, Russia, UK, Australia, Ghana, Sudan and South Sudan will be the main drivers of supply growth this year. Oil prices fell on Thursday, with worries over slowing global growth and surging USA crude stockpiles weighing on the commodity.
The new personnel appointments may be a sign of Kim's desire to keep recent months of up-and-down nuclear diplomacy alive rather than returning to the threats and weapons tests that characterized 2017, when many feared war on the Korean Peninsula.
Kim was first elected chairman of this commission in June 2016, when this body was originally created. But several North Korea watchers, including Sue Mi Terry, a North Korean expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former Asia analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, said Moon was expected to try to persuade Trump - perhaps only privately - to agree to ease some sanctions to keep the talks alive.
A senior administration official said Thursday that the USA and the global community had "clearly defined the scope" of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, have a shared understanding of what final, fully verified denuclearization entails and what meaningful progress toward that goal looks like. It later emerged that Kim had been blindsided by an unexpected blunt demand from Mr Trump that he transfer of his nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the US.
Choe was one of the most powerful officials in North Korea as head of the Workers' Party of Korea Organization and Guidance Department (OGD), according to database North Korea Leadership Watch.
Choe was one of the three officials sanctioned by the USA in December over allegations of rights abuses.