N. Korea names new point man on U.S. affairs

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N. Korea names new point man on U.S. affairs

North Korea's former deputy chief of its mission to the United Nations has been named as new head of the North American affairs department at Pyongyang's foreign ministry, a diplomatic source said Wednesday.

Han Song-ryol, who assumed the No. 2 post at the North's U.N. mission from 2009-2013, will replace predecessor Ri Kun, the source said. The appointment was made as Ri has been named North Korea's new ambassador to Poland.

Han also served as the deputy chief of the North's mission to the U.N. from 2002-2006.

"His experiences in the U.S. seem to have been taken into account for the appointment," the source said.

North Korea's mission to the U.N. in New York has served as a key direct communication channel between the two sides, referred to as the "New York channel," for arranging higher-level contacts.

Han's appointment raises expectations that he could revive contact between Washington and Pyongyang if situations improve.

Relations between the U.S. and North Korea have deteriorated following Washington's fresh sanctions on the North over its alleged cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.

The U.S. has vowed to seek a two-track strategy of pressure and dialogue when dealing with North Korea.

Last week, North Korea rebuked U.S. President Barack Obama for saying that the North is bound to collapse, saying that it has no intention to talk with Washington. (Yonhap)

North Korea's former deputy chief of its mission to the United Nations has been named as new head of the North American affairs department at Pyongyang's foreign ministry, a diplomatic source said Wednesday.

Han Song-ryol, who assumed the No. 2 post at the North's U.N. mission from 2009-2013, will replace predecessor Ri Kun, the source said. The appointment was made as Ri has been named North Korea's new ambassador to Poland.

Han also served as the deputy chief of the North's mission to the U.N. from 2002-2006.

"His experiences in the U.S. seem to have been taken into account for the appointment," the source said.

North Korea's mission to the U.N. in New York has served as a key direct communication channel between the two sides, referred to as the "New York channel," for arranging higher-level contacts.

Han's appointment raises expectations that he could revive contact between Washington and Pyongyang if situations improve.

Relations between the U.S. and North Korea have deteriorated following Washington's fresh sanctions on the North over its alleged cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.

The U.S. has vowed to seek a two-track strategy of pressure and dialogue when dealing with North Korea.

Last week, North Korea rebuked U.S. President Barack Obama for saying that the North is bound to collapse, saying that it has no intention to talk with Washington. (Yonhap)

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