World Bulletin / News Desk
North Korea revealed it has a new ambassador to Britain on Thursday, weeks after one of Pyongyang’s senior London-based diplomats defected to South Korea.
Choe Il replaces Hyon Hak-bong, according to the North’s state-run KCNA news agency.
Little is known about Choe except that he previously worked at North Korea’s United Nations mission.
South Korean media speculation suggested Hyon was being held accountable for the defection of Thae Yong-ho and his family -- which Seoul confirmed back in August.
Thae was considered the North’s second-in-command at its embassy in London, and was known to have been a prominent apologist for the authoritarian state.
His escape to South Korea would have been all the more jarring for Pyongyang because he had worked in Britain for a decade and came from a trusted background.
Thae’s father was reportedly a four-star general who campaigned against Japanese occupation of the peninsula before the Koreas divided at the end of World War II.
Betrayal is known to carry a heavy penalty in the North, but the reclusive nation’s regime appears to be having difficulty maintaining the loyalty of its citizens posted overseas amid strengthened sanctions this year.
The UN Security Council is expected to impose even firmer punitive measures following Pyongyang’s second nuclear test of 2016 two months ago.Last Mod: 03 Kasım 2016, 14:43