January 3, 2019 / 10:07 AM / 20 days ago

Italy knows nothing about North Korean diplomat reportedly seeking asylum: diplomatic source

ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s foreign ministry knows nothing about reports that a North Korean diplomat, until recently ambassador to Italy, has gone missing and is seeking asylum in the West, a senior diplomatic source said on Thursday.

A separate diplomatic source said the foreign ministry had no indication that the diplomat, Jo Song Gil, had sought asylum in Italy. The source added that North Korea had announced in late 2018 that it was sending a new envoy to Rome.

“It was a perfectly normal procedure,” the source said.

Earlier on Thursday, in Seoul, a South Korean lawmaker who was briefed by the National Intelligence Service said the diplomat had disappeared with his wife after leaving the Italian embassy without notice in early November.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Gareth Jones

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