Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bilateral Relations: Top North Korean official to visit Iran

Kim Yong-Nam, president of North Korea's Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), will visit Iran in the summer, the official IRNA news agency has reported.

"This high-ranking official is expected to visit in two or three months," Iranian foreign ministry's Asia affairs head Mohammad Ali Fathollahi told IRNA.

Details of the trip were not sted but Radio Netherlands points out, Yong-Nam's trip assumes significance as Iran and North Korea have both been accused by Western nations of flouting UN Security Council regulations over their nuclear programmes.

Kim Yong-Nam has been de facto head of state since 1998, and he previously served as foreign minister from 1983 to 1998.

Although he is not de jure head of state of North Korea (as no such office exists), in his capacity as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, he has the role of accepting the credentials of ambassadors, conducting foreign relations and signing treaties, making him the de facto head of state. He has held this office since 5 September 1998. Kim represents the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on all state visits and summits and receives visiting heads of state; in theory he, Premier Kim Yong-il, and Chairman of the National Defense Commission Kim Jong-il form a tripartite executive, each having powers equal to a third of a president's, controlling foreign relations, government, and defense, respectively. In practice, Kim Jong-il is the effective ruler of the country. (Wikipedia)

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