Ri's replacement has not been identified but Pyongyang is set to
reveal his successor about next Thursday, the report said,
citing unnamed sources.
South Korea's unification ministry, which is in charge of North
Korea affairs, has said that any change in Ri's status should be
Born in 1956, Ri is the son of Ri Myong Je, former deputy
director of the Organization and Guidance Department (OGD), a
shadowy body within the ruling Workers’ Party that oversees the
appointment of management positions within the state, according
to the South Korean unification ministry.
His father was also an editor at the Korean Central News Agency
(KCNA), the state media body that publishes Pyongyang’s
A fluent English speaker who studied at Pyongyang’s prestigious
University of Foreign Languages, Ri has for years held a number
of high-level posts dealing with the West.
From 2003 to 2007, he was North Korea’s ambassador in London and
served as vice foreign minister, representing North Korea at
six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program.
Ri did not attend the annual gathering of world leaders at the
United Nations in September. He had attended the high-level
meeting in New York for three years from 2016 to 2018.
(Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Hyonhee Shin Editing by Angus
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