A new DPRK ambassador to Malaysia?

Ri Tong-il (리덩일), a former Deputy UN ambassador for North Korea, is supposed to be the new DPRK ambassador to Malaysia. Ri Tong-il studied at the University of International Studies and at the School of Foreign Languages in Pyongyang. He was studying with Ri Kil-song, a MOFA DPRK official. The nomination of Ri Tong-il to Kuala Lumpur is clearly a sign that DPRK authorities have no new diplomats to submit. Ri Tong-il is also supposed to discuss PR issues over Kim Jong-nam’s death.

Ri Tong-il
Same tie as on the previous picture. Difficulties to wear it. Always accompanied by young assistants from the Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies

 

DPRK delegation to visit Southeast Asia

According to the Chinese News Agency Xinhua “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday sent a delegation led by Vice Foreign Minister Ri Kil Song to visit seven Southeast Asian countries, the official KCNA news agency reported. The delegation will visit Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, the state media said, without detailing the purpose of the visit. On Sept. 6, 2014, the DPRK sent a delegation of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea to visit Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Mongolia, which was considered as a move to break the ice in its relations with Western countries.

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Some left but some stay: a quick review of the election to the SPA

Analyzing the list of people who were chosen at the new SPA (Supreme People Assembly of North Korea) election, we can notice that as usually the same people were chosen as in previous elections except some little changes. It would be a great challenge to analyze each person chosen to the SPA, therefore I would like to provide some information concerning only a minor part of these people.

The Jang dream team

Some people associated to Jang Sung Thaek (the uncle of Kim Jong Eun who was executed in December 2013) were chosen to the SPA session including:

Ri Chol – the former tutor of Kim Jong Eun – who was supposedly dead…according to South Korean newspapers.

Ji Jae Ryong – the DPRK ambassador to China- was also chosen. Ji Jae Ryong is considered as a former friend of Jang Sung Thaek. Jang Sung Thaek was responsible for his nomination as an ambassador of the DPRK to the former Yugoslavia in the 80’s.

Ri Kwang Gun – a NK technocrat who worked in Germany and Bangladesh – was also reelected. He was responsible for some of the business of the Jang family. Maybe some of them had betrayed Jang ? That’s also a possibility which may explain that they are still alive (I personally do believe that the reality is more complicated).

Interestingly Mun Kyong Dok (the head of the KWP in Pyongyang and a jovial friend of Jang Sung Thaek) was not elected.

Other nominations

Long-term associates of Kim Jong Il were reelected. This was done in order to maintain the Pact of Stability between Kim Jong Eun and the DPRK leadership. Among them we can quote:

Ri Ul Sol, Yang Hong Sop,  Jo Yon Jun, O Kuk Ryol, Kim Yong Ju (Kim Jong Eun uncle and Kim Il Sung brother), Kim Kyok Shik, Ju Kyu Jang, Kim Yong Dae, Kim Yong Nam, Kang Sok Ju, Ro Tu Chol, Pyong In Son, Choe Pu Il, Pak Pong Ju, Choe Hwi, Ma Won Chun, Jon Yon Jon, Kim Kye Kwan, An Kum Chol, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Yong Chun, Sim Chol Ho, O Il Jong, Hwang Pyong So, Ri Kil Song (the former procurator of the DPRK, a 90 years old politician), Kim Wan Su, Kim Ki Nam, Pak Ui Chun, O Kum Chol, Thae Jong Su, O Su Yong (one of my favorite politician in terms of influence over the DPRK)…and many others

Own conclusions

The family of Kim Jong Eun is not fully visible in the list of SPA delegates. Kim Jong Eun was selected at the 111 place (is it not sweet ?), Kim Jong Nam, an enemy of Kim Jong Eun and a half-brother of the leader, was not chosen. He’s supposedly under the protection of the Chinese police. How long ? We do not know.