North Korean diplomat in charge of South-east Asian affairs arrives in Beijing amid speculation he may visit Singapore

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Hui Chol's trip to Beijing came shortly after North Korea threatened to cancel the summit in between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Singapore.
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Hui Chol's trip to Beijing came shortly after North Korea threatened to cancel the summit in between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Singapore.PHOTO: ST FILE

SEOUL (BERNAMA) - A North Korean diplomat responsible for South-east Asian affairs arrived in Beijing on Saturday (May 19), sparking speculation that he may visit Singapore ahead of a planned summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Hui Chol was whisked away by his country's embassy officials in Beijing upon his arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport earlier in the day without answering questions from reporters.

Mr Choe's trip came shortly after North Korea threatened to cancel the June 12 summit in Singapore over ongoing air combat drills between South Korea and the US.

The North has also protested US demands for the "unilateral" dismantlement of its nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Trump said on Thursday that he does not have the so-called Libya model in mind for North Korea's denuclearisation and offered to provide strong security guarantees to the regime.

Libya surrendered its weapons of mass destruction programme in 2003 in return for sanctions relief, but its then-leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power and killed by Nato-backed rebel forces in 2011.

North Korea made clear this week that it would not meet the same fate as the North African country.