Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 2-North Korean foreign minister replaced - report

Reuters | Pyongyang | Updated: 20-01-2020 06:55 IST | Created: 20-01-2020 06:54 IST
UPDATE 2-North Korean foreign minister replaced - report
Image Credit: Pexels

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho has been replaced, Seoul-based NK News reported on Saturday.

The usually well-informed outlet, citing multiple unnamed sources in Pyongyang, said Ri would be replaced by Ri Son Gwon, the former chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC), who played a prominent role in inter-Korean talks in early 2018. NK News said the move, of which there has been no mention in official North Korean media, was part of a major political reshuffle that could have a significant impact on the country's diplomatic stance. The outlet said it would likely be confirmed on or before Thursday, when an event for resident diplomats is scheduled in Pyongyang.

South Korea's unification ministry, which is in charge of North Korea affairs, has said that any change in Ri's status should be assessed cautiously. The U.S. State Department, which has been seeking unsuccessfully to revive talks aimed at persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ri Yong Ho, who was born in 1956, did not attend the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations in September. He had attended the high-level meeting in New York for three years from 2016 to 2018. NK News said his absence from a group photo of top ruling party officials at a meeting in January raised speculation that he may have been replaced amid a broader political reshuffle that saw notable promotions and possible demotions of prominent figures in North Korea's military, Cabinet, and more.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited a source in Beijing as saying that North Korea's top envoys to China and the United Nations returned to Pyongyang on Saturday. It said this was spurring speculation that North Korea could review its nuclear negotiating strategy with the United States. The agency quoted its source as saying that the ambassador to China, Ji Jae-ryong, and the envoy to the United Nations, Kim Song, left for Pyongyang from Beijing airport in the morning.

It said North Korean ambassadors to Angola and Singapore were also seen at the airport, indicating a possible meeting of North Korea's overseas diplomatic mission chiefs in Pyongyang. Some 10 other North Korean diplomats accompanied the top envoys on the flight, Yonhap said. A fluent English speaker who studied at Pyongyang's prestigious University of Foreign Languages, Ri Yong Ho has for years held a number of high-level posts dealing with the West.

From 2003 to 2007, he was North Korea's ambassador in London and served as vice foreign minister, representing North Korea at now-defunct six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Uganda COVID-19 response: Was off to a good start but reopening dwindled prospects

Uganda has shown success in using health information to enhance efficiency of disease surveillance, reporting and monitoring. The success, however, has critical challenges confronting it as the country resumes normal activities....

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Farkhad Akhmedov: Calculating the price of impunity from the law

In insistences such as the battle over the Luna, Akhmedov has resorted to extreme legal machinations to subvert the High Courts decision and keep his assets from being seized. ...

Videos

Latest News

U.S. rejection throws WTO leadership race into confusion

The World Trade Organizations bid to select a new leader was plunged into uncertainty on Wednesday after the United States rejected the Nigerian woman proposed as the global trade watchdogs next director-general. Just six days before the U....

Hurricane Zeta slams Louisiana with high winds, 'life-threatening' surge

Hurricane Zeta smashed into Louisiana on Wednesday with 110-mile-per-hour 175 kph winds and what government trackers called a life-threatening storm surge, the third hurricane to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast state this year.Zetas extremely dange...

Soccer-Late Boli goal gives Ferencvaros 2-2 draw with Dynamo Kyiv

Hungarian side Ferencvaros fought back from two-goals down to grab a well-deserved 2-2 draw against 10-man Dynamo Kyiv with substitute Franck Boli netting a late equaliser in their Champions League Group G clash on Wednesday. Coached by for...

'This, again?': Weary Parisians gird for new lockdown

On the television screen on the wall of the Parisian cafe she runs, manager Karine Dubin watched President Emmanuel Macron tell the French people they were heading back to lockdown, and it left her feeling deflated. France had already been ...

Give Feedback