North Korean officials mum about key issues ahead of Asean meeting


North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho at the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Vientiane, Laos, on July 25, 2016.
North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho at the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Vientiane, Laos, on July 25, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - North Korean officials remained tight-lipped on Thursday (Aug 2) in front of media outlets in Singapore, as they prepared to participate in a regional forum, Yonhap news agency reported.

Pyongyang is sending its Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho to the Asean Regional Forum (ARF), slated for Saturday, as the nation's chief delegate.

Mr Ri is slated to arrive in Singapore on Friday morning. He was spotted at a Beijing airport earlier on Thursday, apparently having flown from Pyongyang on a Air Koryo plane, according to Yonhap.

He was soon whisked away by a car. There is no direct flight between North Korea and Singapore.

According to Yonhap, an advance team of North Korean officials, led by Mr Kim Chang Min, director-general of the foreign ministry's international organisation bureau, is already in Singapore.

When asked by a South Korean reporter about the possibility of bilateral talks between the top diplomats of the two Koreas on the margins of the ARF and discussions on the declaration of a formal end to the Korean War, a North Korean official accompanying Mr Kim said: "I have nothing to say for now."

Answering to South Korean reporters who knocked on the door of the North's Embassy in Singapore, an embassy official also reiterated that he has no comment, Yonhap reported.