N.K. foreign minister leaves New York after U.N. meeting

October 1, 2018

er attending the United Nations General Assembly and meeting with his U.S. counterpart to plan a second summit between their leaders.

Ri was seen leaving his hotel around 3:30 p.m. without responding to reporters asking about the next steps in North Korea-U.S. negotiations on dismantling the North’s nuclear weapons program.

During his seven-day stay, Ri met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the issue of North Korea’s denuclearization and a possible second meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

At that meeting, Pompeo accepted Kim’s invitation to visit Pyongyang this month to make further progress on the two issues.

In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday, Ri said the North’s commitment to denuclearization is firm, but that there is “no way” it will disarm first without seeing trust-building measures from the United States.

He said the U.S. has rejected Pyongyang’s calls for signing a joint declaration to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War and has increased sanctions on the regime to bring it to its knees.

This year’s visit contrasted sharply with last year, when the foreign minister likened Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” the regime as “the sound of a dog barking” and warned of a possible hydrogen bomb detonation over the Pacific Ocean.

Ri is expected to return to Pyongyang via Beijing.

Katina Adams, a State Department spokesperson, told Yonhap there were no travel plans to announce “at this time” in terms of Pompeo’s upcoming trip to Pyongyang or U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun’s expected meeting with the North Koreans in Vienna.

This photo shows North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho (in gray) leaving his hotel in New York on Oct. 1, 2018. (Yonhap)

This photo shows North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho (in gray) leaving his hotel in New York on Oct. 1, 2018. (Yonhap)

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