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New N.K. envoy to take office in Italy after long vacancy

2017/07/28 09:57

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ROME, July 28 (Yonhap) -- A new North Korean ambassador to Italy is likely to take office in the near future to fill the post that has been left vacant for more than one year following the former ambassador's death, according to diplomatic sources Friday.

The Italian government has recently approved North Korea's pick for the next envoy, Mun Jong-nam, according to the sources. The new ambassador will arrive in Italy as soon as he gets a visa, they said.

The post had been empty since Mun's predecessor Kim Chun-guk died of liver cancer in Italy in February last year.

Nine months later in November, North Korea picked Moon to replace Kim and sought Italy's approval, but Italy had deferred giving its approval until recently.

The delay was in line with Italy's condemnation of North Korea's recent series of provocative missile launches and its nuclear tests in January and September last year, according to the sources.

With the absence of an ambassador, the North Korean Embassy in Italy, which is staffed with four diplomats, has been inactive in recent months, they also said.

The North Korean Embassy is tasked with covering Italian affairs, as well as those in nearby countries, including Greece, Portugal, San Marino and Cyprus.

The new ambassador is a veteran diplomat who has served in North Korea's Embassy in Thailand and the international organization bureau at the North Korean foreign ministry.

pbr@yna.co.kr

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