North Korean Foreign Minister to Attend World Economic Forum

According to Chosun Ilbo “North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong (a.k.a Ri Chol) is to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland from Jan. 20 to 23. An official at the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Monday, “We were notified by the WEF organizers that Ri will be present at the forum.”The WEF is a symbol of global capitalism, bringing together political and economic leaders from around the world.

This is the first time in 18 years that a high-ranking North Korean official is coming to Davos. Nevertheless Ri Su-yong is one of the most trusted advisors of Kim Jong-un. North Korea sent officials to attract foreign investment in their Rajin-Songbong Special Economic Zone from 1996 to 1998, but their trips were less than fruitful. Ri and his delegation are expected to try and lure foreign investment by meeting with any of the over 50 heads of state, chiefs of international organizations and over 3,000 businessmen that they can.

“Foreign investment is essential to make progress in Kim Jung-un’s various pet projects this year. North Korea will take a more aggressive approach to bringing foreign investment to the country, ” said Cho Bong-hyun at the IBK Economic Research Institute.

Ri Su-yong is a member of the “management board” of North Korea. He’s fluent in English and French. ccording to a former DPRK MOFA official, he’s also considered as being a businessman rather than a diplomat. Being based in Switzerland he participated to earn dollars for the North Korean regime. Ri Su-yong was also responsible for the education of Kim Jong-nam in Switzerland and Russia. In spite of being closed to Jang Sung-thaek, Ri Su-yong wasn’t expelled from his positions in december 2013.


I consider that the “Ri Su-yong’s team” has for ambition installing liaison offices between Pyongyang and foreign countries. Separate from political and economical issues, Ri Su-yong may try to seek humanitarian assistance and abducted Japanese and South Koreans during the Korean War (1950-1953).

I also consider that Ri Su-yong will approach South Korean authorities regarding the Anti-North Propaganda broadcasts which will restart within the next days. This resumption is believed to mark the South Korean’s answer to the potential nuclear attempt of North Korea which took place last week. I also expect the resumption of launches of balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets over North Korea.

If in the future we face with a potential “dismissal” of Ri Su-yong, this would mean huge changes in the Foreign Policy of the DPRK.

Nicolas Levi

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