Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: North Korean diplomat from London embassy said to defect

A diplomat working in the London embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) left his post for a third country earlier this month, South Korean media reported on Tuesday, citing an anonymous source. “A DPRK diplomat in London is going through procedures to seek asylum in a third country,” the JoongAng Ilbo said. “The DPRK Embassy made belated attempts to figure out the diplomat’s whereabouts, but has failed.” The report said the unnamed diplomat had been previously tasked with keeping track of North Korean defectors who had settled down in London’s environs, as well as regularly handling consular services. The diplomat, who was not named and alleged to have left with his wife and children, had also been requested by Pyongyang to prepare measures to counter the UK’s increasing criticism of North Korea’s human rights violations, the JoongAng said. According to a list of diplomats provided by the UK government, excluding Ambassador Hyon Hak Bong, there are five North Korean officials working in the embassy. The diplomats who matched the JoongAng’s description can be narrowed down to Minister Thae Yong Ho and Third Secretary Ryu Kyong Jun, with the rest working in unrelated fields to consular work.



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