Choe Son-hui is the brand new Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Korea, an appointment that has caused surprise outside the country governed by Kim Jong Un. Diplomat Choe had previously served as deputy foreign minister and succeeds Ri Son Gwon, a hard-line former military officer who in the past led the dialogue process with South Korea.
A career diplomat, Choe served as a close adviser to Chairman Kim during talks to curb North Korea’s nuclear program with the United States and has helped its president as an interpreter in important meetings with foreign leaders. His closeness to Chairman Kim is believed to have been key in the appointment.
The new minister was with the North Korean leader at the summits that Kim Jong Un held with the then president donald trump. There were two meetings in which progress towards the denuclearization of North Korea was not achieved, as the White House wanted. Choe blamed on the hanoi summit (2019) to Washington for its failure: “I think the United States has missed a golden opportunity by rejecting our proposals,” he told reporters at the time.
Choe Son-hui was born in 1964 and She is the adopted daughter of former Prime Minister Choe Yong Rim. He studied China, Austria and Malta, where he learned to speak fluent English. She has worked as a researcher and English interpreter at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has held different positions as section chief and deputy director general at the Office of American Affairs.
This appointment takes place in the same weekend in which the North Korean Armed Forces fired artillery supposedly from a multiple rocket launcher, a week after firing at least eight short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. The South Korean Army has assured that it had detected “several trajectories” that are estimated to be artillery fire from around 8:07 a.m. to 11:03 a.m. (local time). He has not given additional details, such as the exact number of shots fired and the origin of the shots, according to reports from the Yonhap news agency.
“While we strengthen surveillance and military control, South Korea and the United States are constantly working and maintaining a posture of exhaustive preparation,” stressed the General Staff of the South Korean Armed Forces. The resolutions adopted by the United Nations prevent North Korea from carrying out this type of test.
South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin stated on Saturday that his country was considering imposing unilateral sanctions against North Korea if its neighboring country had finally just carried out a new nuclear test, as the Seoul Intelligence services pointed out.
Likewise, the United States National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, observed last week that Washington would give a “robust response” if North Korea carried out a nuclear test, before stressing that the country “was following very closely “the possibility that Pyongyang took this step.