North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Ri Chol's Last Minute Business

Ri Chol speaking about the DPRK's human rights on at the UN on 7 December 2009 (Photo: Yonhap)

Despite reports that he is leaving his concurrent positions as DPRK Ambassador to Switzerland and the UN Mission in Geneva, Ri Chol still has official business to attend to.  Yonhap reports that Ambassador Ri appeared at another UN Human Right Commission meeting to rebut its report on human rights in the country.

Ri claimed the suggestions stem from a deeply ingrained sense of animosity toward North Korea and are aimed at pursuing goals unrelated to human rights, such as overthrowing the regime and tainting the image of the country. The envoy also said the North does not recognize the U.N. human rights envoy.

Ri gave non-specific responses to the other recommendations and stopped short of making a commitment to any of them. The 117 suggestions included improving the human rights of the socially weak, joining international human rights pacts and allowing reunions of families separated by the Korean War.

Yonhap’s Kim Young-gyo reports on a commentary in a Hong Kong newspaper about Ri Chol’s possible return to Pyongyang and how it may indicate Kim Jong-un’s succession:

The Chinese-language Takungpao said in a commentary that Ambassador Ri Chol, who has served as a diplomat to Switzerland for 30 years, went back to the North in late March in order to help with the succession of Kim Jong-un, the youngest of Kim’s three sons.

“To the author’s view, the most important reason for Ri’s return may be related to making smooth arrangements for Kim Jong-il’s successor,” wrote Li Youqi, a senior commentator at the newspaper.

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This article was written on 19 Mar 2010, and is filled under DPRK External Relations, KJI Personal Secretariat, Ministry of Finance, population control, social control.

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