North Korea’s special envoy to the US, who was credited with paving the way for nuclear talks with Washington, has reportedly been executed over the failure of the recent summit between North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and Donald Trump.
The South Korean Chosun Ilbo newspaper said that Kim Hyok-chol and foreign ministry officials who conducted working-level preparations for February’s doomed Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, were executed in March.
The newspaper’s claims, based on unnamed North Korean sources, have not been independently verified. North Korea has not confirmed or denied the executions, and other actions taken against officials, and the regime has challenged previous media claims about executions. The South Korean government was unable to confirm the report.
The paper said Kim Yong-chol, a senior official who had been US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s counterpart in the run-up to the summit,had been subjected to forced labour and “ideological education”.
The Chosun Ilbo said that Kim had launched another purge of senior officials in an attempt to divert attention from internal turmoil and discontent.