N.Korea's Hawkish FM Promoted to Top Decision-Making Body

      April 14, 2020 11:16

      Ri Son-gwon /Yonhap

      North Korea's hawkish Foreign Minister Ri Son-gwon has been appointed to the State Affairs Commission, the country's most powerful decision-making body.

      The appointment came in a session of the rubber-stamp Supreme People's Assembly on Sunday, state media reported the next day.

      Ri, who became foreign minister in January, was also promoted to the Politburo as an "alternate" member along with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong on Saturday.

      The two new posts are thought to come with the job of foreign minister. As a former chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland dealing with South Korean affairs, Ri raised some hackles when he was rude to a group of South Korean business leaders accompanying President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang in 2018.

      Another new member of the commission is Kim Hyong-jun, who has replaced veteran diplomat Ri Su-yong as vice chairman for international relations at the Workers Party's Central Committee.

      North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly is in session in Pyongyang on Sunday, in this photo from the official Rodong Sinmun daily the following day.

      That seems to complete the establishment of a new hardline foreign-policy team after leader Kim Jong-un fired most of the old team who had been responsible for arranging his summits with U.S. President Donald Trump.

      Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui seems to be the only one left from the old team on the commission.

      The parliamentary session was postponed for two days without explanation. Kim Jong-un attended the Politburo meeting but was absent from the Supreme People's Assembly.

      He has skipped five of 12 assembly sessions that have been held since he came into power.

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