The Korea Herald


NK special envoy set to meet Putin

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Nov. 18, 2014 - 20:26

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's special envoy later Tuesday, an official from Putin's office said.

Choe Ryong-hae, the Workers' Party of Korea secretary, "is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on President Putin at 5 p.m. today," the Kremlin official told Yonhap News Agency.

The public affairs office of the Kremlin later confirmed the planned meeting.

Putin plans to have a closed-door meeting with Choe and there will be no press availability, it said.

Choe is widely viewed as carrying the North Korean leader's personal letter for Putin.

His meeting with Putin is apparently the highlight of his eight-day trip to Russia.

He flew into Moscow early Tuesday morning, leading a high-profile delegation which includes Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, Vice Economy Minister Ri Kwang-gun, and No Kwang-chol, deputy chief of the General Staff of the North's military,

Choe's trip here is seen as part of Pyongyang's efforts to reach out to Moscow for diplomatic and other support amid reports of strained relations with China.

This week, a United Nations committee plans to vote on a resolution against North Korea for its human rights conditions.

Co-sponsored by the European Union and more than 40 nations, it encourages the Security Council to refer Pyongyang to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Russia is a permanent member of the council with veto power.

Apparently, Pyongyang's traditional ties with Beijing are not as good as before. 

Announcing Choe's trip last week, the North's state media did not elaborate on his mission.

Russia said later that three main issues would be discussed -- ways to make the Korean Peninsula nuclear free, security conditions in Northeast Asia and bilateral relations.

Choe, who doubles as a member of the party's central committee political bureau presidium, is one of the closest aides to Kim. He is known to be the second- or third-most powerful leader in the

Choe also plans to travel to Russia's far eastern cities of Khabarovsk and Vladivostok before returning to Pyongyang Monday, according to the Russian government. (Yonhap)