• Kyodo

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North Korea’s new foreign minister on Saturday left for Laos to make his overseas debut at a major security forum, at a time of high tensions over Pyongyang’s series of weapons tests.

This is the first trip abroad by Ri Yong Ho since he became foreign minister in May. His departure from Pyongyang’s airport was confirmed by Kyodo News.

Ri was formerly a top nuclear negotiator and had experience in negotiating with the United States and other countries before assuming the new post.

The ASEAN Regional Forum, gathering foreign ministers from nearly 30 countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States, is scheduled for Tuesday.

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