DPRK state media reported on 18 May (Friday) that the Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] Presidium appointed Kim Chun Guk as the country’s new ambassador to Italy. Kim has served as the director of the DPRK Foreign Ministry’s European Bureau (department) for a number of years. During the late 1990s and early 2000s Kim managed negotiations with the European Union and participated in the establishment of formal diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom in 2000, Spain in January 2001, Germany in March 2001 and Luxembourg, also in March 2001. It is not clear what nonresident ambassadorships Kim will hold. His predecessor in Rome, Han Tae Song, was also nonresident ambassador to Malta, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and San Marino. KCNA reports:
Kim Chun Guk was appointed as DPRK ambassador to Italy, according to a decree of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly.
Meanwhile, Ho Jong Man has been appointed chairman of Chosen Soren (General Association of Korean Residents in Japan; Chongryon), filling the vacancy left by the February 2012 death of So Man Sul. KCNA/Kyodo report:
The pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan said Saturday Ho Jong Man, its chief vice chairman, has been chosen as its new chairman.
The move came after So Man Sul, former chairman of the group known as Chongryon, died of heart failure in February. So had been chairman since May 2001.