Tough-talking military veteran new North Korean foreign minister

Ri Son-gwon. EPA-EFE/KOREA / POOL

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North Korea’s new foreign minister is a former defense commander with little diplomatic experience, spotlighting leader Kim Jong Un’s reliance on party and military loyalists at a sensitive time amid stalled U.S. talks, analysts in Seoul said on Monday.

Last week, North Korea told countries with embassies in Pyongyang that Ri Son Gwon, a senior military officer and official of the ruling Workers’ Party, had been appointed foreign minister, a diplomatic source in Seoul told Reuters.

He replaces

Reports that North Korean Foreign Minister has been replaced

, a career diplomat with years of experience negotiating with Washington, but who often took a backseat to other officials during the last two years of diplomacy.

Unlike his predecessor, Ri Son Gwon does not have any experience in dealing with nuclear issues or U.S. officials, though he has led high-level talks between the neighbors.

Read more via Reuters

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