A North Korean diplomat previously in charge of negotiations with the United States could be tapped as Pyongyang’s top envoy to Austria, a key position that interfaces with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
Choe Kang Il, the deputy director-general for North America at Pyongyang’s foreign ministry, could succeed Kim Kwang Sop, the son-in-law of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung.
Choe has been in charge of negotiations with the United States.
Ken Gause of CNA Corp., a nonprofit research firm in Arlington, Va., says the Austrian ambassadorship is an important post for the North Koreans. For Pyongyang, effective dealing with the IAEA could have financial implications for North Korea, which is under heavy economic sanctions, the analyst said.
Choe’s task may be to mitigate the impact of sanctions on North Korea’s economy through diplomacy with European nations once U.S.-North Korea negotiations resume, Gause said.