North Korea's Foreign Minister visits Beijing

BEIJING • North Korea's Foreign Minister arrived in Beijing yesterday for talks with his counterpart, just a week after Pyongyang's leader Kim Jong Un made a groundbreaking trip to the Chinese capital.

The visit by Mr Ri Yong Ho was announced by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, who said Mr Ri would meet Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Later this week, Mr Ri is expected to take part in the ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), to be held in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, diplomatic sources said yesterday.

The two-day meeting, which will open tomorrow, will prepare for next year's NAM summit, which Azerbaijan will host.

It will follow a meeting of senior officials from the NAM's 120 member states yesterday and today, reported Yonhap news agency.

Mr Ri is expected to attend the ministerial conference ahead of his planned visit to Moscow around the middle of the month.

Citing sources at the Russian foreign ministry, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported last month that Mr Ri will make a visit to Russia around mid-April.

Established in Yugoslavia in 1961, the NAM is a group of states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.

The number of its member and observer states reached 120 and 17, respectively, in 2012. North Korea acceded to the group in 1976.

Mr Ri's attendance at the conference and visit to Russia are seen as part of the North's efforts to influence the international community and seek support.

Pyongyang is expected to hold separate summits with South Korean President Moon Jae In on April 27 and with United States President Donald Trump by the end of May.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2018, with the headline 'N. Korea's Foreign Minister visits Beijing'. Print Edition | Subscribe