North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

New NK Diplorep to Iran

North Korean diplorep Jo In Chol (left) meeting with the former Thailand Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai in 2003 (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand)

Yonhap reports that the DPRK has appointed Jo In Chol as its new ambassador to its close ally Iran.  Jo In Chol was recently the country’s ambassador to Thailand and the Phillipines.  SPA President Kim Yong-nam will likely visit Iran this summer.  Iran also publicly invited KJI to visit Tehran, after he returned from China in May.

Information on Jo was scarce. He headed a department in charge of protocol at the North’s foreign ministry for over two years until his latest appointment. A graduate of a top North Korean language institute, he accompanied the communist state’s nominal state head, Kim Yong-nam, when he visited Bangkok in 2002 to forge a trade agreement.

Iran and North Korea set up diplomatic relations in 1973. Western countries have accused the two of trading missile and nuclear parts and technology for decades, threatening non-proliferation efforts headed by the United States.

Jo In Chol is replacing So Se-pyong who was appointed the country’s ambassador to Switzerland and UN Mission Geneva in April of this year.  So replaced Ri Chol, KJI’s confidante and diplorep underboss in the EU who returned to Pyongyang.


This article was written on 23 May 2010, and is filled under diploreps, DPRK External Relations, DPRK-Iran Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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