Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for January 18, 2020

Newsline: North Korean foreign minister replaced

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho has been replaced, Seoul-based NK News reported on Saturday. Ri’s replacement has not been identified but Pyongyang is set to reveal his successor about next Thursday, the report said, citing unnamed sources. From 2003 to 2007, he was North Korea’s ambassador in London and served as vice foreign minister, representing North Korea at six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-foreign-minister/north-korean-foreign-minister-replaced-report-idUSKBN1ZH0B3) Ri 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.

Newsline: EU’s former ambassador to South Korea suspect in China spy probe

Gerhard Sabathil, the European Union’s former ambassador to South Korea, has been identified as the subject of a German probe into alleged spying activities for China’s Ministry of State Security, according to three European sources. (https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3046484/eus-former-ambassador-south-korea-suspect-china-spy-probe) The investigation, which has sent shock waves through Beijing, Berlin and Brussels, came to light after German authorities raided the flats and offices of Sabathil and two other individuals. German police have made no arrests. Sabathil could not immediately be reached for comment. A dual citizen of Germany and Hungary, Sabathil left diplomacy in 2017 to join the European lobbying firm Eutop. Eutop’s lawyer, Christian Schertz, said in an emailed response to the South China Morning Post’s questions: “Given that the circumstances described by you do not concern the activities of our client, we see no reason for our client to comment.”