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Missing N. Korean diplomat left Italy, is under protection

All Headlines 12:23 August 01, 2019

SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- A former North Korean envoy to Italy, who disappeared last year, has left the European country and is under protection, Seoul's spy agency told lawmakers Thursday.

Jo Song-gil left his post as Chargé d'Affaires at the North Korean embassy in Rome last November and went missing with his wife in what appears to be an asylum bid.

"(Jo) left Italy and is protected somewhere," Rep. Lee Eun-jae of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party said after a closed-door meeting with Suh Hoon, director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS). She did not elaborate.

During the meeting, the spy agency also said North Korea could conduct additional missile launches this month before it resumes denuclearization talks with the United States, according to lawmakers.

North Korea said earlier in the day it tested a new rocket system on Wednesday, contradicting South Korea's earlier assessment that the North fired two short-range ballistic missiles.

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