Former North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho appears to have been executed last year, a Japanese newspaper reported Wednesday, digi24.ro reported, citing South Korean news agency Yonhap.
Ri appears to have been executed sometime during the summer and fall of last year, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported, citing multiple anonymous sources. At the time of Ri’s death, four or five North Korean Foreign Ministry officials were apparently executed in quick succession. The source added that some unspecified issue related to the North Korean embassy in Britain could be the reasons for their executions, adding that all, including Ri, had served in the diplomatic service.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said it was aware of the news and was verifying the information. Appointed the North’s diplomatic chief in 2016, Ri played a key role in negotiations with the United States for the 2018 and 2019 summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then-US President Donald Trump. The Hanoi summit in early 2019 ended without an agreement. In public information, it is known that Ri left his post in 2020. Earlier, in 2019, South Korean media reported the execution of North Korea’s special envoy to the US, Kim Hyok Chol, and 4 North diplomats – Koreans who participated in working group-level talks to prepare for the second US-North Korea summit in February, which the dictatorial regime holds responsible for its failure, digi24.ro reported.
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