North Korea Breaks Ice with Mongolia: Vice Foreign Minister Makes Rare Visit

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia – In a sign of potentially thawing relations, North Korea’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pak Myong Ho, concluded a rare visit to Mongolia on Monday. The trip marks a significant development as North Korea has kept its borders largely shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pak met with his Mongolian counterpart, Amartuvshin Gombosuren, for talks on strengthening “traditionally friendly relations” between the two countries, according to a statement from Mongolia’s Foreign Ministry. North Korean state media, KCNA, had earlier reported on the delegation’s departure without disclosing details about the visit’s purpose.

This visit holds significance for several reasons. Firstly, it’s the first time in five years that a North Korean foreign ministry delegation has traveled to Mongolia. Secondly, Mongolia has played a role in facilitating past nuclear talks, and this visit could signal a renewed interest from North Korea in engaging with the international community.

The discussions focused on bolstering bilateral ties, but analysts speculate that broader issues, including the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization, might also have been on the agenda. The timing of the visit is noteworthy as it follows a period of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea conducting missile tests and South Korea ramping up military drills.

Whether this visit signifies a broader shift in North Korean diplomacy remains to be seen. However, it’s a positive development that could pave the way for further dialogue and potentially contribute to a more stable situation in the region.

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