U.N. secretary general to meet with North Korea's top diplomat

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Sept. 18, 2017 at 4:41 PM
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Sept. 18 (UPI) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres could meet with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho this week during the 72nd session of the U.N. General Assembly.

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, said he expects Guterres to meet with Pyongyang's top diplomat at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Yonhap reported.

Ri is to attend the general debate on Tuesday and deliver a keynote address on Friday.

The North Korean foreign minister is due to land in New York on Wednesday, and Ri and Guterres could meet on Saturday, following Ri's remarks to the U.N. assembly, according to the South Korean press report.

There is also a possibility Ri could attend the annual meeting of the G77.

The Group of 77 is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the United Nations.

Ri's predecessor, Ri Su Yong, began the practice of meeting with the U.N. secretary-general in 2014.

Ri Su Yong, who is currently vice chairman of the central committee of the Korean Workers' Party, met annually with then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for discussions, but last year Ri Yong Ho opted to not hold discussions with Ban.

Ban and Ri Yong Ho did briefly shake hands during last year's U.N. assembly.

There is also a possibility U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could brush shoulders with Ri, as their dates of attendance at the U.N. assembly could overlap, according to South Korean television network JTBC.

No official communication through the New York channel with North Korea has been announced, according to the report.

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