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Outspoken former army figure named N. Korea’s FM – reports

Outspoken former army figure named N. Korea’s FM – reports

Pyongyang has reportedly named a sharp-tongued former army officer with little foreign policy experience as its top diplomat. Ri Son-gwon’s new title as foreign minister was disclosed on Friday in a Korean Central News Agency dispatch. It said he attended a reception for foreign diplomats in Pyongyang the previous day.

South Korean and other media have also reported North Korea informed foreign diplomats in Pyongyang of Ri’s job last week. Ri, an outspoken retired army colonel, previously headed a government body responsible for relations with Seoul and has taken part in numerous inter-Korean military talks over the past 15 years.

The official is replacing Ri Yong-ho, a career diplomat with broad experience who had taken part in nuclear negotiations with the US since early 2018. Ri Yong-ho’s name was last mentioned by KCNA last August, AP said.

The nomination of the new diplomat is seen as a possible indication Pyongyang will take a harder line with Washington in the stalled nuclear negotiations.