North Korea appointed its new ambassador to Egypt on Monday, Pyongyang’s state media said, replacing Pak Chun-il who is on a UN blacklist for his suspected involvement in an illegal weapons transactions.
Ma Tong-hui was named as North Korea’s top diplomat to Egypt in accordance with a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the Korean Central News Agency said in a short dispatch.
Ma’s predecessor Pak was among 11 North Korean officials who were blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions adopted in late November last year to punish Pyongyang for its fifth nuclear test in September.
Pak is suspected of having supported North Korea’s Korea Mining Development Trading Corp. in Egypt which is engaged in the country’s weapons proliferation. He was named as North Korea’s point man to Cairo in December 2013.
The KOMID is the North’s primary arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons. The company is under the UN sanctions and Washington’s unilateral punitive measures.
The sanctions imposed asset freeze and travel ban, effectively making it impossible for him to work as a diplomat. Pak was rumored to have been ordered back home in October.
The KCNA did not elaborate on detailed information about the country’s new envoy to Egypt, but Ma’s title was introduced as director of the Disarmament and Peace Institute in a June 2016 report by the state media.