North Korea's foreign minister visits Beijing to meet counterpart

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho is expected to take part in the ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho is expected to take part in the ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - North Korea's foreign minister arrived in Beijing on Tuesday (April 3) 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 Ri Yong Ho was announced by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, who said Ri would meet Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Later this week 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 on Tuesday.

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

It comes after a meeting of senior officials with the decades-old group of 120 countries from Tuesday through Wednesday, reported Yonhap news agency.

Ri is expected to attend the conference ahead of his planned visit to Moscow around mid-April.

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

Established in Yugoslavia in 1961, NAM is a group of states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc, with the number of its members and observer states reaching 120 and 17, respectively, in 2012. North Korea acceded to the group in 1976.

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 as the country is expected to hold separate summits with South Korean President Moon Jae In on April 27 and with U.S. President Donald Trump by the end of May.