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Top North Korea official to hold meetings in Vietnam, Indonesia

Ri Su Yong is seeking support for Pyongyang’s weapons program among traditional allies.

By Elizabeth Shim
Top North Korea official to hold meetings in Vietnam, Indonesia
Ri Su Yong, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, is to meet with Vietnamese, Indonesian officials this week. File Photo by Rodong Sinmun

SEOUL, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A top North Korean official was seen in Beijing en route to Vietnam and Indonesia the same day a senior Chinese diplomat headed to Pyongyang for a rare visit.

Ri Su Yong, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, is planning to be in attendance at the 18th annual International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties to be held in Vietnam, Yonhap reported Monday.

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Ri, who most recently served as North Korea's foreign minister, is expected to seek the support of traditional allies for Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program and missile launches, according to the report.

The meeting in Vietnam is to begin Friday and is to be attended by the communist and labor parties of various countries.

Ri may meet with high-ranking officials of Vietnam's communist party.

The North Korean official is scheduled to meet with high-ranking officials in Indonesia after Vietnam, Kyodo News reported.

A source in Indonesia said the trip is being made to reciprocate a visit by former President Megawati Soekarnoputri in 2011, when she went to Pyongyang in her capacity as the leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.

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As Ri took a trip overseas, China's vice foreign minister visited Pyongyang on Monday, Kyodo reported.

Liu Zhenmin is expected to attend a meeting on China-North Korea border issues, according to the Japanese press report.

Liu's visit marks the first time a high-ranking Beijing official is visiting North Korea since February, and the first visit by a Chinese official since North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9.

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