North Korea's top diplomat Ri Yong Ho to visit Russia

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea's top diplomat Ri Yong Ho to visit Russia
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho (2-R) is expected to meet with Russian officials in April ahead of major summits with South Korea and the United States. File Photo by Vilhelm Stokstad/EPA-EFE

March 26 (UPI) -- North Korea's foreign minister is expected to visit Russia in April, according to a Russian press report.

RIA Novosti reported Monday Ri Yong Ho, who made headlines in 2017 after threatening to detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific, is planning to meet with Russian officials next month.


"Foreign Minister Ri's visit to Russia is being coordinated, and the visit could take place mid-April," a Russian foreign ministry official told RIA Novosti.

Russia's Tass news agency also confirmed the visit could take place mid-April.

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Since assuming the office of foreign minister, Ri has been reaching out to the Russian government, and may have held talks on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila last August, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

Ri could be meeting with the Russians to coordinate on issues where the two countries are aligned, ahead of major summits between North and South Korea and with the United States, according to Yonhap.

Moscow has voiced opposition to the increased presence of U.S. missile defense in Northeast Asia, and North Korea has condemned the United States and South Korea for the deployment of THAAD on the peninsula.

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Ahead of a possible North Korea meeting, Russia is hosting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi this week, according to Chinese state tabloid Global Times.

Wang, who is visiting as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss issues including the recent trade dispute between China and the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump hit China last week with $60 billion in U.S. tariffs, and China retaliated with tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. goods.

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Beijing's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the visit comes following the re-election of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The countries are looking to "new opportunities" for developing relations, Hua said.

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