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North Korean envoy heads to Russia to discuss improving trade, political ties

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's special envoy Choe Ryong Hae, left, a senior member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, shakes hands with Kim Ki Nam, second right, also secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, as he and his delegation members leave the Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, for Russia Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. Choe, one of Kim's close associates, left Pyongyang on Monday to discuss ways to improve trade and political ties with Russia. He is scheduled to stay in Russia until Nov. 24. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's special envoy Choe Ryong Hae, left, a senior member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, shakes hands with Kim Ki Nam, second right, also secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, as he and his delegation members leave the Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, for Russia Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. Choe, one of Kim's close associates, left Pyongyang on Monday to discuss ways to improve trade and political ties with Russia. He is scheduled to stay in Russia until Nov. 24. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)  (The Associated Press)

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's special envoy Choe Ryong Hae, left, a senior member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, shakes hands with Hwang Pyong So, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army, as he and his delegation members leave the Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, for Russia Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. Choe, one of Kim's close associates, left Pyongyang on Monday to discuss ways to improve trade and political ties with Russia. He is scheduled to stay in Russia until Nov. 24. Delegation member Kim Kye Gwan, first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, is seen second left. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's special envoy Choe Ryong Hae, left, a senior member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, shakes hands with Hwang Pyong So, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army, as he and his delegation members leave the Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, for Russia Monday, Nov. 17, 2014. Choe, one of Kim's close associates, left Pyongyang on Monday to discuss ways to improve trade and political ties with Russia. He is scheduled to stay in Russia until Nov. 24. Delegation member Kim Kye Gwan, first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, is seen second left. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)  (The Associated Press)

A special envoy of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left Pyongyang on Monday for Russia to discuss ways to improve trade and political ties.

Choe Ryong Hae, a senior official in the ruling Workers' Party and one of Kim's close associates, is scheduled to stay in Russia until Nov. 24.

Russia's foreign ministry has said Moscow hopes to discuss trade and economic ties, the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, and other international issues. Choe will visit Moscow as well as Khabarovsk and Vladivostok in Russia's Far East.

Choe visited Beijing last year as a special envoy and was a member of a high-profile North Korean delegation that visited South Korea in early October during the Asian Games.