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Amid stalled negotiations with US over denuclearisation, North Korean Foreign Minister replaced

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Seoul | January 20, 2020 1:41:19 AM IST
As the talks between the US and North Korea over denuclearisation remain stalled, Pyongyang appears to have picked its point man for relations with South Korea as its new foreign minister.

Yonhap citing sources, reported that North Korea has notified foreign ambassadors based in Pyongyang of its recent appointment of Ri Son-Gwon as the country's new top envoy, replacing Ri Yong-ho. The agency quoting sources said notification was made last week and his official appointment may be announced this week.

The development, if confirmed, marks a possible shift in the country's policy towards US and South Korea, even though its leader Kim Jong Un announced earlier this month that he is longer bound by his self-imposed moratorium on a long-range missile and nuclear tests and said it will soon show off a "new strategic weapon."

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had said that Pyongyang will continue developing strategic weapons unless the United States drops its hostile policy towards the country.

According to the Yonhap report, Ri a former army officer has been serving as chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country and headed the delegation to recent high-level talks with South Korea.

His appointment assumes significance in the wake of South Korean President Moon Jae-in's New-Year address wherein he had proposed that the two Koreas should make concerted efforts to create conditions for North Korean leader's visit to South Korea.

The talks between North Korea and the United States broke down after the failed Hanoi Summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim. Since then, Washington has tried to bring the Pyongyang back on the table for talks but failed to do so.

Meanwhile, North Korea has conducted a number of test-launches of short-range missiles in the months since the last summit. The country is banned from carrying out such tests under the United Nations' sanctions. (ANI)

 
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