North Korea appoints Korean Unification Talks Chief as new Foreign Minister: Reports
Seoul/Sputnik: North Korea has appointed Ri Son Gwon, the former head of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC), as the country’s new foreign minister, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported on Sunday, citing sources in Pyongyang.
According to the agency, ambassadors in Pyongyang have been notified of the appointment. The former CPRC chief, who has previously headed North Korean delegations during high-level talks with South Korea, will reportedly replace outgoing Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.
The agency stated that the replacement of Ri Yong Ho, a specialist in conducting diplomacy with the United States, could indicate Pyongyang’s lack of intention to continue denuclearization talks with Washington. The outgoing foreign minister held the post for four years, and traveled with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the US-North Korean summits that were held in February and June last year, the agency reported.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on January 7 called on Pyongyang to do everything possible to implement the agreement on a return visit of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to Seoul. Moon held talks with the North Korean leader in Pyongyang in September 2018, although was warned by North Korea on January 11 not to read into a birthday message sent by US President Donald Trump to Kim Jong Un.
US-North Korea denuclearization negotiations have been in limbo since the North Korean delegation walked away from negotiations that took place in Sweden in October, frustrated by Washington’s unwillingness to offer any concessions.