NAYPYIDAW — North Korean representatives will not be attending the 25th Asean Summit in Naypyidaw this week, according to the Burmese Ministry of Information.
Most heads of state from the 27-member Asean Regional Forum will attend the summit, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Barack Obama.
In the most recent official meeting of the Asean Regional Forum, held in Naypyidaw in August, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong and other delegates were in attendance alongside foreign ministry representation from the other 26 members of the forum.
“As indicated by the schedule, the North Korean representatives won’t come to this summit,” Myo Myint Thaung, the chief editor of Myanmar News Agency at the Ministry of Information, told the Irrawaddy on Monday. He said the ministry had no indication as to why North Korea will not send a delegation.
Burma and North Korean have had a cordial relationship since the closing years of the military government era. The two countries agreed to resume formal diplomatic ties in 2007.
Previously, relations with the reclusive state had been severed after a 1983 assassination attempt conducted in Rangoon by North Korean agents killed 21 people, including four South Korean cabinet ministers.
Burma’s state media reported that a delegation led by Kim Myong Gil, a director general in North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, landed in Burma on April 3 and spent three days visiting the country. Visiting officials met with Thant Kyaw, Burma’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, and San Lwin, director-general of the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s political department.