Send to

Senior N. Korean diplomat to visit Russia for discussion

Sept. 22, 2017 - 09:42 By Yonhap

A senior North Korean diplomat in charge of relations with the United States plans to visit Russia next week to discuss security issues, a source said Friday.

"Director-General Choe is scheduled to visit Moscow late next week to hold talks with Oleg Burmistrov, Russia's ambassador-at-large," the source said, referring to Choe Son-hui, director-general of the North American department at North Korea's foreign ministry.

Details of the planned talks are not known, but the two sides are likely to discuss ways to break out of an ongoing security stalemate surrounding North Korea's nuclear weapons development.

Choe Son-hui (L) (Yonhap)

Earlier this month, North Korea carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test yet and test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, which resulted in an angry backlash from the rest of the world.

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week, US President Donald Trump threatened to "totally destroy" the North Korean regime, prompting North Korea to vow Friday to take the "highest level" action in response.

The upcoming talks come in addition to a series of previous North Korea-Russia consultations.

The Russian ambassador, serving as Russia's deputy nuclear negotiator, visited North Korea in late July to discuss issues involving the Korean Peninsula, according to the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency. On Monday, Choe met with Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora in Pyongyang as part of the continued discussions.

Russia has been unusually vocal in its call for a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear issue amid a growing war of words between Pyongyang and Washington.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned during the ongoing UN assembly Thursday that an excessive military response to North Korea's nuclear and missile tests would lead to disaster.

Earlier this month, American chief envoy on the North Korean issue Joseph Yun was invited to Russia to discuss the issue with his Russian counterpart there. (Yonhap)