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A Japanese newspaper claims that the former North Korean foreign minister was executed by the Kim Jong-un regime

Ri Yong-ho, former North Korean foreign minister, was removed from office in January 2020
Ri Yong-ho, former North Korean foreign minister, was removed from office in January 2020

The former foreign minister of the North Korean regime, Ri Yong-howould have been executed last year, as reported on Wednesday by the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun attributing the information to various anonymous sources.

Ri Yong-ho, who has not been seen in public for several years, he would have been executed between the summer and autumn of last year together with four or five officials of the countryaccording to these sources that claim to be close to North Korean domestic policy to the correspondent of said newspaper in Beijing.

News about executions of members of the North Korean regime are frequent in the South Korean, Japanese or Hong Kong media, but the secrecy of the country makes it very difficult to contrast this information, which has often turned out to be wrong.

Although the sources consulted by Yomiuri They assure that the reason for this supposed purge “is not clear”, They say it could be related to an incident linked to the North Korean embassy in the United Kingdomsince most of these officials worked at some point in this legation where Ri held the position of ambassador in the first decade of this century.

Ri, who became the North Korean delegate in the so-called six-party talks, was appointed as foreign minister in 2016, a role in which he played an important role in negotiations with the United States for the 2018 and 2019 summits between North Korean dictator Kim. Jong-un, and then US President Donald Trump.

Ri Yong-ho participated in the historic summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2019 (REUTERS / Leah Millis)
Ri Yong-ho participated in the historic summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2019 (REUTERS / Leah Millis)

They were Ri and the now head of Foreign Choe Son Hui those who offered a press conference to explain the North Korean position at the failed Hanoi summit in February 2019.

In January 2020, the North Korean regime replaced Ri with Ri Son-gwonwho directed the body in charge in the North of relations with the South during the most recent phase of rapprochement.

That renewal supposed at that time a change in the North Korean policy towards Washington and Seoul, after Kim threatened to resume atomic and intercontinental missile tests after the failed rapprochements.

For their part, last Monday state media reported that the regime dismissed Pak Jong-chonthe second most powerful military after the leader Kim Jong-un.

Pak, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party and secretary of the party’s Central Committee, was replaced by Ri Yong-gil at the committee’s annual meeting held last week, the official news agency reported on Sunday KCNA.

No reason was given for the change. Pyongyang regularly renews its leadership, and the party’s annual meeting has often been used to announce personnel changes and major policy decisions.

The North Korean regime announced this week a new change in the military structure (KCNA via REUTERS)
The North Korean regime announced this week a new change in the military structure (KCNA via REUTERS)

State television showed Pak sitting in the front row of the podium with his head bowed during the meeting, while other members raised their hands to vote on personnel issues. Subsequently, his seat appeared unoccupied.

He was also absent from photos published on Monday by the official news agency KCNA Kim’s New Year’s Day visit to Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which houses the bodies of his grandfather and father, unlike in October, when Pak accompanied Kim on a trip to the palace to mark a party anniversary.

The party’s Central Military Commission, chaired by Kim, is considered the most powerful military decision-making body in the country, above the Defense Ministry.

The news of the possible execution occurs after a year in which North Korea has conducted a record number of weapons of mass destruction testsaround fifty, and in which the tension on the Korean peninsula has reached new highs.

With information from EFE and Reuters

Keep reading:

South Korea studies suspending the inter-Korean agreement if the dictator Kim Jong-un does not stop the provocations
The EU called on the North Korean regime to stop fueling military tensions on the peninsula

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