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N. Korea picks new top diplomat, heralding policy shift Updated: 2020-01-20 13:37:21 KST

According to an informed source in Seoul on Sunday, North Korea has notified foreign ambassadors in Pyeongyang of its recent decision to appoint a new foreign minister.
The source says Ri Son-gwon will be the regime's new top envoy, after the notification was made a few days ago.
This official appointment could come as quickly as this week.
Ri Son-gwon will replace Ri Yong-ho,.. signaling that the North may reshape its policies towards Seoul and Washington.

"The appointment of a military hardliner who has no diplomatic experience seems to be intended to open the door to dialogue with the U.S. and to launch for a frontal breakthrough on denuclearization after getting a security guarantee."

Ri was previously the head of the North Korean delegation to high-level talks with South Korea,.. including the meeting in August 2018, which ultimately led to President Moon Jae-in's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the North's capital the following month.
However, besides his career dealing with the South, little has been known about his professional experience in the field of foreign affairs.
His appointment also comes as Seoul has renewed its commitment to improving inter-Korean ties amid stalled nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea, and the widening differences between Seoul and Washington over their approach towards Pyeongyang.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.
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