North Korea’s Choe Ryong Hae leaves for Non-Aligned Movement meeting

Oct. 22 (UPI) — A top-ranking North Korean official left Pyongyang to attend the meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Azerbaijan, North Korea’s state media said Tuesday.

Pyongyang’s state-controlled news agency reported Choe Ryong Hae, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea, left on Tuesday after receiving a sendoff from Thae Hyong Chol of the Supreme People’s Assembly and Kim Son Kyong, vice minister at Pyongyang’s foreign ministry.

Choe left North Korea at 10:50 a.m. on Air Koryo flight JS151, arriving in Beijing. He met with Chinese officials and diplomats of the North Korean embassy in the Chinese capital, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Choe is expected to stay in China until he leaves for Azerbaijan for the NAM forum, taking place Friday and Saturday.

Last year Choe traveled with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho. Ri was not seen at the airport on Tuesday, according to Yonhap.

Choe is traveling to Azerbaijan, which joined the Non-Aligned Movement in 2011, at a time when Washington and Pyongyang have not resumed talks since a meeting ended without an agreement in Sweden.

On Tuesday during a meeting of his Cabinet, U.S. President Donald Trump suggested communication is ongoing with North Korea at the highest levels.

Trump said Kim Jong Un “takes my call” and that the North Korean leader gets along with him despite the ongoing deadlock.

“I like Kim; he likes me. We get along. I respect him; he respects [me],” Trump said, according to the White House.

“You could end up in a war. President Obama told me that…I said, “Did you ever call him?” “No.” Actually, he tried 11 times. But the man on the other side — the gentleman on the side did not take his call. Okay? Lack of respect. But he takes my call.”

Trump also said he had “some very interesting information on North Korea,” but did not provide details on Tuesday.

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