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Archive for North Korea

Newsline: New North Korean ambassador to U.N. has yet to receive U.S. visa

North Korea’s next Ambassador to the United Nations Kim Song has not yet received his visa to begin work at his new post in New York, an official told Kyodo News. He is to replace Pyongyang’s previous envoy, Ja Song Nam, who left at the end of July after having served as his country’s top representative at the U.N. headquarters since February 2014. Kim apparently applied for his visa in late May through the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, but has received no indication of when the process will be completed and is unable to travel to the country in the meantime. During at least part of the previous North Korean ambassador’s term, Kim had been posted in New York as a counselor with the country’s mission. Much was made of the first-ever summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un when the two met in June in Singapore, with Kim promising to work toward the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Since that time, however, bilateral negotiations over the issue have not proceeded smoothly as Pyongyang has yet to take concrete steps toward the goal, raising doubts about Kim’s actual willingness to relinquish his country’s nuclear weapons.



Newsline: North Korean ambassador returns to Beijing

North Korea’s Ambassador to China Ji Jae Ryong has returned to Beijing after being recalled to Pyongyang. The top North Korean diplomat to Beijing was seen returning to the Chinese capital, Yonhap reported. A Yonhap reporter tried to ask Ji whether he attended a Kim Jong Un-initiated meeting of the ambassadors, but he declined to answer any questions. Ji is believed to have accompanied top official Ri Su Yong to North Korea from Beijing, as Ri was returning from a tour of Cuba and Russia. It is believed Kim called for an “emergency” meeting of ambassadors, an unscheduled meeting of senior diplomats as North Korea continues its policy of engagement with the world. Kim may have called for the meeting, to provide instructions to the ambassadors ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean government on Sep. 9.


Newsline: Malaysia to reopen embassy in North Korea

Malaysia will reopen its embassy in Pyongyang, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said, suggesting an end to the diplomatic row over the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother in Kuala Lumpur last year. “Yes, we will reopen the embassy,” Mahathir said in an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review published on Monday during his trip to Japan. Malaysia’s once-close ties with North Korea were severely downgraded after Kim Jong Nam was killed at a Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017 when two women smeared his face with VX nerve agent, which the United Nations lists as a weapon of mass destruction. The United States and South Korea have said the murder was orchestrated by Pyongyang. After Kim Jong Nam’s death, North Korea’s ambassador to Malaysia questioned the credibility of the police probe and insisted he was an ordinary citizen who died of a heart attack. Malaysia then recalled its ambassador to North Korea, banned its citizens from traveling to the North and canceled visa-free entry for North Koreans. North Korea retaliated with a travel ban on all Malaysians in Pyongyang, trapping three diplomats and six family members. They were able to fly out only after Malaysia agreed to hand over Kim Jong Nam’s corpse and send three North Koreans wanted for questioning back to North Korea.


Newsline: Trump may discuss opening US embassy in Pyongyang

US President Donald Trump may discuss establishing official diplomatic ties with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and consider opening an American embassy in Pyongyang, a US media website reported, quoting sources. Citing two sources familiar with preparations for the Singapore summit, the Axios news website reported that this was among topics that could be discussed during their talks on Tuesday. “It’s definitely been discussed,” the unnamed source told Axios. “His view is: ‘We can discuss that: It’s on the table. Let’s see.’ Of course we would consider it. There’s almost nothing he’ll take off the table going in.” But nothing has been decided for sure or is necessarily expected to emerge from Mr Trump’s talks with Mr Kim, the Axios report said. The White House has not officially commented on the matter.


Newsline: Two South Korean media staff arrested at North Korean ambassador’s home in Singapore

Two South Korean media staff have been arrested for trespassing at the home of the North Korean ambassador to Singapore, police said on Friday, just days before a high-stakes summit between the U.S. and North Korean leaders in the city-state. Police said the men arrested were from the Korean Broadcasting System News (KBS News), while a third man from the broadcaster and a fourth who was acting as a guide and interpreter were also under investigation. “Two South Korean men, aged 42 and 45, who were representing the Korean Broadcasting System News (KBS), were arrested,” police said in a Facebook post. KBS said in an emailed statement it was ready to take any action Singapore authorities deemed necessary.


Newsline: Top US diplomat for Asia on ropes ahead of North Korea summit

The fate of the U.S.’s top diplomat for Asia remains in limbo two weeks ahead of the expected historic summit with North Korea. In one of his first major personnel moves as secretary of state, Mike Pompeo is expected to withdraw the nomination of Susan Thornton for Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, three sources with knowledge of the matter told ABC News. Thornton is a career Foreign Service officer with 20 years of experience in the region who has been the acting Assistant Secretary since March 2017. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was a fierce proponent of hers, battling China hawks in the administration and on Capitol Hill to get White House approval for her nomination in December.


Newsline: North Korea’s Kim Visits Chinese Embassy, Bus-Crash Victims

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited survivors of a deadly tour-bus crash, which killed dozens of Chinese tourists, and personally offered condolences to China’s ambassador in Pyongyang, state media said. Mr. Kim arrived at the Chinese Embassy at 6:30 a.m. Monday, the day after the crash, to “express his deep sympathy” and extend his condolences to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a Tuesday report. Later Monday, Mr. Kim visited the hospital where survivors are being treated, KCNA said. The agency published photos showing Mr. Kim holding hands with patients. The tour bus fell from a bridge Sunday evening in North Hwanghae province, leaving 32 Chinese and four North Koreans dead and two Chinese severely injured, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.