N.Korea's Nuke Talk Envoy Becomes FM

      May 11, 2016 13:05

      Ri Yong-ho

      North Korea's longtime de facto chief diplomat and negotiator in stalled six-party nuclear talks Ri Yong-ho has officially become foreign minister.

      Ri (62), who is not to be confused with a purged military hardliner of the same name, replaces Ri Su-yong (76), who has been promoted to a senior party post.

      Ri Yong-ho is a career diplomat like his predecessor and the son of Ri Myong-je, a crony of former leader Kim Jong-il.

      He studied English at Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies and served as the North's ambassador to the U.K. and Ireland. He was promoted to vice foreign minister in 2010 and represented the North during six-party talks.

      Whether the appointments signal a shift away from hardline military domination in the upper echelons remains to be seen.

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