North Korea’s foreign minister arrived in Myanmar Saturday for a regional security meeting where his country’s nuclear program is expected to be a major topic, while South Korea is moving to drum up international support for its plan to rein in its belligerent communist neighbor.
Ri Su-yong, who became the North’s top diplomat in April, was tight-lipped upon arrival at the airport and declined to answer questions by dozens of waiting reporters. He then was whisked away by aides.
North Korea is a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum, which is Asia’s largest security forum, and the North’s nuclear program has been a major topic of the forum in the recent past.
This year’s ARF forum slated for Sunday has drawn special attention because all six countries directly involved in the North Korea denuclearization talks ― the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia ― have been invited to attend it.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se will be among those who will attend the Sunday forum but they are not expected to meet their North Korean counterpart one-on-one.
Yun encountered Ri briefly after a photo session for gala dinner and shook hands with him, Seoul officials said.
This year’s forum comes amid an array of North Korea’s short-range missile and rocket launches, and its threat to conduct a fourth nuclear test.
North Korea has ratcheted up provocative acts by firing-off a series of missiles and rockets, snubbing the United Nations Security Council’s fresh condemnation against it. Earlier this week, it even threatened to conduct a fourth nuclear test, citing what it called U.S. hostility against it.
South Korea, on the other hand, plans to drum up international support for its effort to end the North’s spate of provocations, according to officials from Seoul’s foreign ministry. (Yonhap)