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Former N.K. Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho likely executed last year: report

09:59 January 04, 2023

SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- Former North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho appears to have been executed last year, a Japanese newspaper reported Wednesday.

Ri seems to have been executed around between the summer and fall of last year, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported, citing unnamed multiple sources.

Four or five officials from North Korea's foreign ministry appear to have been executed successively around the time of Ri's death, according to the report.

It added that some unspecific issues related to the North Korean Embassy in Britain might have been the reasons behind their executions, saying that all of them, including Ri, worked in the diplomatic mission.

South Korea's unification ministry handling inter-Korean affairs said it is aware of the news report and checking relevant information.

Ri, who was appointed as the North's top diplomat in 2016, played a key role in negotiations with the U.S. for the 2018 and 2019 summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then U.S. President Donald Trump. The Hanoi summit in early 2019 ended with no deal. Ri is known to have left office in 2020.

This undated file photo shows former North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho. (Yonhap)



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