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(LEAD) N. Korean foreign minister in Singapore for regional forum

All News 08:31 August 03, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with hotel arrival in 2nd para; RECASTS 7th para; ADDS photo)
By Lee Chi-dong

SINGAPORE, Aug. 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho arrived in Singapore on Friday for an annual forum hosted by a group of Southeast Asian countries.

Ri flew from Beijing on an Air China plane. Entering his hotel in downtown Singapore, wearing a black suit and a purple tie, he did not respond to reporters' questions about his activity here.

He plans to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) slated for Saturday and is also expected to meet bilaterally with some of his foreign counterparts on the sidelines.

South Korea's top diplomat Kang Kyung-wha is on a visit to the city-state as well.

She has offered to hold bilateral talks with Ri, but no schedule has been announced yet.

A combined image of North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho (L) and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Yonhap)

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to show up later Friday.

The secretary's aides have been noncommittal about the possibility of his separate meeting with Ri.

The ARF, a gathering of more than two dozen top diplomats, "provides a platform for a lot of interaction -- some sit-down meetings, some side-bar meetings, some pull-asides, some chance encounters -- to address challenges in the region or other business," a State Department official, accompanying Pompeo on his ongoing Asia tour, said on background.


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