North Korean FM Arrives Sunday in Havana

By Felipe Pagliery  (Progreso Weekly)

Ri Su Yong
Ri Su Yong

HAVANA TIMES —North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong, is due to arrive to Havana on Sunday (March 15) to meet with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodríguez, the Cuban Foreign Ministry announced this week in a two-paragraph statement. The duration of Ri’s stay was not disclosed.

Ri’s arrival comes soon after the visits of Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni and Christian Leffler, the European Union’s director for the Western Hemisphere.

Also on Sunday, the United States’ Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, is due to arrive for another round of talks in the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S.

Ri will arrive from Moscow, where on Friday (March 13) he met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, to discuss — according to a Pyongyang statement — “how to develop the two countries’ relations, fostering peace on the Korean peninsula, and other issues of common concern.” His one-day visit to Moscow had been unscheduled.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is due to travel to Moscow in May to attend the World War Two Victory Day celebrations.

Earlier in the week, Ri spent four days in Belarus, discussing “the need to create new mechanisms and formats of economic cooperation” and to “step up interaction between foreign ministries,” according to Ri.

Kim Il Sung pins medal on Fidel during his visit to Pyongyang in March 1986.
Kim Il Sung pins medal on Fidel during his visit to Pyongyang in March 1986.

The 75-year-old Ri is an urbane and experienced career diplomat who acted as a surrogate father to the current president when Kim Jong Un was a young man studying at a Swiss school. A former aide to the late leader Kim Il Sung, he is reputed to be a close confidant of the current president.

Ri spent two decades in Berne as ambassador to Switzerland and to the United Nations Organization in Geneva, where he was the dean of the diplomatic corps. One U.N. official in Geneva described him to the Reuters news agency as “very savvy and sophisticated, in the sense that he knows the score.”

“He was always reputed to be the [Kim] family’s fixer, whatever needed fixing,” the official told Reuters. When it comes to economic policy, Ri is said to be a reformist who understands well the Western mentality. Functionaries at the Foreign Ministry reportedly refer to him as “The Businessman.”

Cuba has maintained diplomatic relations with North Korea since 1960. Fidel Castro visited that country in March 1986. The most recent visit by a top North Korean official was in July 2013, when Army Chief of Staff Kim Kyong Sik traveled to Havana and met with President Raúl Castro.


11 thoughts on “North Korean FM Arrives Sunday in Havana


    “Amnesty International counted a minimum of 79 in 2013

    Unlike executions in most other countries that have not abolished the death penalty, executions of offenders are not performed privately in prisons, but publicly in central Riyadh.”

  • Here you go – “The Telegraph” in the UK. See also Micheal Krieger on David Stockman’s blog. So far in 2015, capitalist Saudi Arabia has decapitated 45 people. And don’t give me that BS that you condemn that. You’re not even aware of it. Too busy blathering on about a rotten tomato being thrown at Berta Soler a year or two ago. You capitalist torture apologists are as transparent as a glass of chispa tren.

  • Saudi Arabia is also in the capitalist news, daily. What you are getting at is the double-standard, or hypocrisy, of US foreign policy toward those two abusers of human rights: Saudi Arabia and North Korea. The main reason is oil, but geopolitics is also a part of the story.

    I condemn both of those countries, along with the odious regimes in Cuba, China, Russia, Belarus, Syria, Sudan, Iran …the list is long and nasty. I note that several of those states are friends and allies of Cuba.

    So if you want to talk about the hypocrisy of the US foreign policy, go right ahead. I have never shied from adding my voice to that criticism. It also opens up the conversation to discussion of the hypocrisy of the Left, who put all blame on the US but never dare to condemn the atrocities committed by Leftist states such as North Korea, Cuba, China, Venezuela, Viet Nam, or Burma, and were equally silent on the atrocities of the USSR and their East European Communist puppet states.

  • How are you sure of one and not the other ? Have you been to either ? Speak Hangul? North Korea is in the capitalist news daily. Saudi Arabia, never. Care to venture a guess why ?

  • Firstly, does it matter if it’s weekly or bi-weekly ? Frankly I don’t remember where I read it. Maybe David Stockman. Nonetheless, you ignore the level of disinformation we are fed regarding those “evil-doer” “rogue nations” you mention. I’ve read that police in Cuba roam the streets sniffing for chicken, and jail anyone found eating it.

  • As North Korea has overcome its economic crisis culminating in the difficult years of 1994 and 1998 – and fixed its economy within the last 10 years, it´s now pursueing an offensive. Big deals with Russia and Belarus have been hammered out.
    Maybe some deals with Latinamerican countries now are in the woods too.

  • Weekly? Cite your source.

  • I’m not sure if Saudi Arabia engages in those barbarities on a weekly basis. North Korea commits abuses, executions and other horrors on a regular, even daily, basis.

  • Do any of the above do weekly decapitations, medical amputations and stonings, like our stauch ally Saudi Arabia ?

  • Birds of a feather, flock together. Russia, Belarus, North Korea, and Cuba. Talk about a bunch of thug regimes.

  • It is telling that Cuba maintains such close relations with North Koea, the most repressive and brutal dictatorship on earth. What’s the NoKo FM coming to Cuba for, is it time to arrange another illegal shipment of weapons hidden under sacks of sugar?

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