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N. Korea announces new ambassador to China

All Headlines 15:57 October 26, 2010

SEOUL/BEIJING, Oct. 26 (Yonhap) -- North Korea announced Tuesday that a senior Workers' Party official was appointed the country's new ambassador to China, confirming reports about the replacement of its top envoys to the neighboring ally in just half a year.

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency carried a brief dispatch on the appointment of Ji Jae-ryong as ambassador to Beijing. It gave no details, including why Ji's predecessor, Choe Pyong-gwan, was replaced after just six months.

Sources in China had told Yonhap News Agency on Sunday that Choe left for Pyongyang after paying farewell visits to Chinese foreign ministry officials Saturday, and that Ji would succeed him.

On Tuesday, a man who is believed to be the new ambassador was seen arriving in Beijing and leaving the airport in a North Korean embassy car.

Ji's appointment could be related to North Korea's efforts to strengthen the standing of leader Kim Jong-il's youngest son and heir apparent, Kim Jong-un, because Ji is said to be close to Jang Song-thaek, the leader's brother-in-law who is considered a guardian of the young successor.

Ji, 68, had served as ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia in the 1980s before moving to the Workers' Party as deputy director of its international affairs department.


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