PYONGYANG – North Korea has executed five officials for their part in the failed second summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a South Korean newspaper reported Friday.
The newspaper’s source said that senior envoy Kim Hyok Chol was executed at the Mirim airfield with four other officials from the North’s Foreign Ministry for betraying Kim Jong Un after being won over by the U.S. Kim Hyok Chol led working-level negotiations as North Korea’s special representative for U.S. affairs ahead of February’s summit between the U.S. and North Korean leaders in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The source also said that Kim Yong Chol, who had worked as North Korea’s top nuclear negotiator and met with Trump at the White House while setting up the summits, was sentenced to hard labor and ideological re-education.
South Korea’s spy service said it could not confirm the report, while the presidential Blue House said that “it’s inappropriate to make hasty judgments or comments.”
Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, told reporters in Berlin that he had seen the reports and the U.S. was “doing our best to check it out.”
That the report was snapped up by the Trump hating global media reflects their hunger for any details about what’s going on in North Korea as diplomatic efforts falter between Washington and Pyongyang, which tightly controls its media and both local and foreign access to information.
Negotiations have hit a stalemate because North Korea wants an end to crippling sanctions, but Washington says Pyongyang is not providing enough disarmament to allow that to happen.
The Mainstream media reports that the diplomacy that has blossomed since early 2018 could be replaced by a return to the animosity that in 2017 caused some of the most realistic fears of war in years as North Korea staged a string of increasingly powerful weapons and Kim and Trump traded intensely personal threats and insults.
Trump’s much-anticipated summit with Kim ended abruptly and without the two leaders signing any agreements over nuclear disarmament.
South Korean intelligence officials say a top Kim aide Kim Yong Chol is reportedly undergoing hard labor for his role in the breakdown.
He even was seen in photos with President Trump at the White House over the past year, delivering letters from the North Korean dictator.
Kim Yong Chol has been North Korea’s top nuclear negotiator and the counterpart of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo since Kim entered nuclear talks with the U.S. early last year.
Since the Hanoi nuclear summit between Trump and Kim ended in failure, North Korea has again tested weapons and boosted its belligerent rhetoric toward American and South Korean officials.
Meanwhile, North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Thursday called out unspecified “betrayers, turncoats who demonstrate their loyalty to (the supreme leadership) only in words, and, even worse, change their colors by the flow of trends” and said they would come under the “stern judgment of the revolution.”
“To pretend to serve the suryong while dreaming different dreams when turning around is to commit anti-party and anti-revolutionary actions that abandon the moral loyalty for the suryong,” the newspaper said, referring to a revered title reserved for North Korean leaders.
Source: The Associated Press, Fox News