The North Korean embassy is expecting the arrival of a new ambassador to the UK, Choe Il. According to South Korean media, Choe was working as a senior official in the country's foreign ministry.

Staff at the embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, based in West London, told IBTimes UK they are not sure about the exact time of the new ambassador's arrival, but they expect it to be "some time this month."

The embassy has not yet responded to a request for comment on the fate of his predecessor, Hyon Hak-bong. South Korean media report the ambassador had been recalled to Pyongyang and questioned following the defection scandal that hit the embassy in August, when his deputy ambassador Thae Yong-ho fled to Seoul with his family.

The secretive regime was furious at the diplomat's defection. North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un reportedly ordered the execution of those who failed to prevent it. Following his defection, North Korea described Thae as "human scum" and he was accused of leaking secrets, embezzlement and child rape.

According to South Korean media sources, North Korea has taken new measures to prevent further defections, including bringing back diplomats' children from foreign countries and reshuffling the most high-profile diplomats in its missions in Europe.

North Korea embassy, London
North Korea's embassy to the United Kingdom is seen located in a house in west London Paul Hackett/ Reuters