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N. Korea Names Top-level Diplomat as Envoy to Syria
N. Korea names Top-level diplomat as envoy to Syria

North Korea has tapped a deputy foreign minister as its new ambassador to Syria, one of Pyongyang's closest allies, Yonhap News reported on Monday quoting the communist state's official news agency as having said.

The U.S. suspects that the North has transferred its nuclear technology to Syria, while both of the allies deny the allegation.

The appointment of Choe Su-Hon, who had served as deputy foreign minister in charge of international organizations since 1986, is understood to show North Korea's emphasis on diplomatic ties with Damascus.

"Choe Su-Hon is named as the DPRK's ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic according to the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly," the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said in an one-paragraph article, using the abbreviation of the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, according to Yonhap News.

Choe is known for his expertise on U.S. and international affairs.

He has delivered speeches at the General Assembly of the United Nations as the North's representative, and he also led Pyongyang's negotiations with global agencies, including the World Food Programme.

Choe's previous post is expected to be filled by Pak Gil-Yon, the North's former top envoy to the U.N.

North Korea reportedly has six deputy foreign ministers under Foreign Minister Pak Ui-Chun and Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-Ju.

North Korea established diplomatic relations with Syria in 1966. Syria has no diplomatic ties with South Korea.

The U.S. claims that North Korea has helped Syria build a nuclear reactor which Israel destroyed last year.

Pyongyang reportedly acknowledged Washington's concern over the alleged proliferation in its recent declaration of nuclear programs submitted under a deal with its dialogue partners at the six-way talks. The other participants are South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan.






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