North Korea’s vice foreign minister in Mongolia on rare visit

By Thomson Reuters Mar 11, 2024 | 4:20 AM

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Pak Myong Ho held talks in Mongolia with his counterpart Amartuvshin Gombosuren on Monday, Mongolia’s foreign ministry said, marking a rare foreign trip by a diplomatic delegation from the isolated state.

The trip comes as Pyongyang appears to be starting to expand diplomatic engagement after keeping its borders tightly shut during the pandemic. The last such visit by North Korean officials to Mongolia was in 2019 when members of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea made the journey.

The vice ministers discussed the “steady development of the friendly relationship” between the countries as well as international and regional cooperation, a press release posted on the Mongolian foreign ministry’s website said.

Pak, who was due to stay in Mongolia until Wednesday, also met with Mongolia’s foreign minister Battsetseg Batmunkh on Sunday.

North Korea was invited to send representatives to the 9th International Conference on Northeast Asian Security “Ulaanbaatar Dialogue” as well as the World Women’s Forum later this year, the ministry’s website said.

The two sides agreed to take “practical action measures” to resume collaboration in various sectors, including education and culture, it said.

North Korean state media KCNA reported on Sunday that a delegation led by Pak left North Korea on Saturday to visit Mongolia without giving further details.

Pak emphasized the importance of Pyongyang’s relations with Mongolia, the foreign ministry statement said.

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim; Editing by Ed Davies and Ros Russell)