North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho will conduct an official visit to Iran following his trip to Singapore this week, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday.
Ri is expected to attend a meeting at the ASEAN Forum in Singapore and arrived in the country on Friday.
“The DPRK government delegation headed by Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho left here today to pay official visits to Singapore and Iran,” KCNA reported.
“Ri Yong Ho is to attend the Ministerial Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum due in Singapore before making an official visit to it.”
It is also his second trip to Singapore, having visited in June as part of the DPRK’s official delegation to the summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.
Despite not being reported to have visited the country this year, KCNA stated that Ri met with Iranian counterparts during a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) ministerial meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan in April.
A North Korean delegation involving two high-level officials visited Iran around the same time last year, with KCNA indicating the purpose of the visit was to attend the inauguration ceremony of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who was re-elected for a second term in May.
Subsequent reporting by state media, however, also revealed that the group was also in Iran to oversee the opening of newly-constructed DPRK embassy in Tehran.
Ri’s visit to Tehran may raise eyebrows considering North Korea and Iran have a history of cooperation in the field of military and missile technology, among others.
A United Nations Panel of Experts (PoE) has previously expressed its concerns regarding an Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation between Iran and North Korea, which was signed in September of 2012.
Representatives of designated North Korean weapons traffickers have also been reported to have been based in Tehran by the PoE, which also noted that DPRK and Iranian missiles have historically born design similarities.
The PoE’s 2017 report raised concerns about the travel of North Korean officials to Iran between 2012 and 2016.
These individuals are known representatives of two established North Korean weapons traffickers: the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation and Green Pine Associated Corporation.
Both entities are sanctioned by the U.S. and UN Security Council.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also in the region this week, and will be attending the Ministerial Meetings between August 3 and 4 as well as visiting Malaysia and Indonesia, in part to discuss the continued enforcement of sanctions against Pyongyang.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Russian foreign ministry
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