Tags: Korea | ambassador | UN

North Korea Recalls Ambassador to U.N.

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2008 08:23 PM

By Stewart Stogel

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North Korea has unexpectedly decided to recall its veteran Ambassador to the U.N. Pak Gil Yon, say United Nations sources.

Pak is expected to pay a "farewell" call to U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday and return to Pyongyang in the near future.

A replacement for the the U.N. ambassador has not been named.

Pak is North Korea's most experienced U.S.-based diplomat, having served two terms, spanning more than 12 years in New York.

Pak is also North Korea's first ambassador the world body.

Considered a hard liner by the State Dept., Newsmax was told that Washington often felt that Pak "would distort" U.S. policy positions and as such, the White House often used China as a more reliable conduit to North Korean officials than the U.N. mission in New York City.

Pak's name has also surfaced on numerous occasions during FBI investigations into suspected North Korean money laundering and currency counterfeiting operations inside the U.S.

The sudden move has left U.S. officials wondering just what North Korea may be up to.

South Korea's new president Lee Myung-bak will meet President Bush in Washington next month.

Lee, a conservative politician, is known in South Korea as one who favors a "go-slow" approach on relations with the North.

Lee is also expected to pay a courtesy call on the UN secretary-general before returning home.

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