About the Author
View more articles by Colin Zwirko
Colin Zwirko is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul.
A “party and government delegation” led by Ri Su Yong, one of North Korea’s most senior diplomats, held their first day of talks in Havana on Wednesday, Cuban state media reported.
In addition to Ri, who serves as a vice-chairman of the Workers Party of Korea’s Central Committee (WPK CC) and head of its International Department, the delegation also included his subordinate in the department Ryu Myong Son and vice-foreign minister Pak Myong Guk, the Cuban News Agency (ACN) reported.
Ri was greeted at the José Martí International Airport on Tuesday by Cuban vice-foreign minister Anayansi Rodríguez Camejo, who described the trip in a Tweet as a “working visit framed in fraternal relations among peoples, parties, and governments.”
An expanded meeting attended by Ri and the other officials was then held Wednesday morning with Cuban Vice President Roberto Morales Ojeda, according to ACN.
The report said the two sides “ratified the willingness to continue deepening the historic relations between the two peoples, parties and governments,” and “exchanged about other topics on the international agenda.”
Vice-foreign minister Camejo also released details of direct talks later on May 22 with her counterpart for the DPRK Pak Myong Guk, saying the two “had a fraternal exchange, noted the high level of bilateral relations, and reviewed the current state of exchange.”
Ryu Myong Son and other officials were also present at that meeting, a photo included in Camejo’s tweet showed, though Ri Su Yong did not appear to have joined.
An initial report released by Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Ri would also “carry out other activities” during his visit, indicating more talks may have been held with his counterpart Wednesday as well.
The head of the Central Committee International Relations Department of the Communist Party of Cuba is Juan Carlos Marsán Aguilera, who attended the initial expanded meeting.
It is also possible that Ri will carry out economic-related activities during his stay in Cuba as well, with senior North Korean official also leading similar visits in Vietnam during the Hanoi summit in late February.
North Korean state media reported that Ri’s delegation departed from Pyongyang on Monday, and while he was not spotted in Beijing’s airport, it is likely given their arrival time Tuesday that the group did not hold lengthy talks in any third nation on their way.
Neither Cuban or North Korean state media have indicated how long the delegation is expected to stay in Havana.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Embassy of Cuba in Guinea Bissau