Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK Ambassador to Sweden Pak Kwang Chol has not returned to his post in Stockholm since being recalled to his home country in late December. According to Expressen, officials at the DPRK Embassy claimed that Pak was “on vacation.” Lina Eidmark of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Press Office said Pak’s extended absence was rare and that “We do not know when he will come back.” Expressen interviewed a representative of the DPRK Embassy said that Pak was “still on vacation.” The DPRK official then asked “Is it the case that we have to report to Expressen when he comes back?” According to the report, the official was “incensed” and ended the telephone call. Expressen also reported that the DPRK has not disclosed what DPRK Embassy secretary or counsel assumed Pak’s duties (i.e., chargé d’affaires) during his stay in the DPRK. On 27 December 2013, Pak Kwang Chol and his wife Ri Mi Ran were observed boarding an Air Koryo flight to Pyongyang, accompanied by DPRK officials. Appointed ambassador in September 2012, Pak had close ties to the former Vice Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission Jang Song Taek (1946-2013), who was removed from office and executed in December 2013. He was part of a group of DPRK diplomats and security officials who were based in foreign countries and recalled to the DPRK after Jang’s execution.