North Korean ruler, Kim Jong-un has executed his envoy to the U.S. and four others as part of a purge of officials after Jong-un’s failed summit with Donald Trump.
According to reports, The North Korean dictator executed Kim Hyok Chol by firing squad for “betraying the supreme leader”. Chol was killed in March at Mirim Airport for being “won over to the US,” during nuclear negotiations with Trump.
Chol and the four other senior foreign ministry officials executed at the airfield were accused of becoming U.S. “spies” after the failed second negotiations between Trump and Kim Jong-un ended abruptly in February.
Kim Hyok Chol was the North’s counterpart of U.S. nuclear envoy Stephen Biegun in the run-up to the Hanoi summit in February.
“He was accused of spying for the United States for poorly reporting on the negotiations without properly grasping U.S. intentions,” a source told South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.
South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reports that Kim Jong Un’s interpreter Shin Hye Yong was sent to a prison camp for a botched translation to Trump at the summit. She failed to translate Kim’s new proposal when Trump declared ‘no deal’ and walked away from the table, the paper reported.
Shin was charged with making critical interpretation mistakes, including missing an unspecified “last-minute offer” Kim Jong-un supposedly made as Trump was about to walk out, Chosun reported.
Another senior official, Kim Yong Chol, who had been in nuclear discussions with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was sent to a forced labour camp for ideological re-education. Kim Song Hye, a woman who worked with Hyok Chol in talks with Pompeo was reportedly sent to another prison camp.
News of the purge came as North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, mouthpiece of the ruling party, warned that officials who committed anti-party or anti-revolutionary acts would face the “stern judgement of the revolution”.
North Korea has previously executed citizens to atone for high-profile political flops but both South Korean media and the South Korean government have a history of reporting about the inner workings of North Korea that turn out to be wrong. Supposedly executed officials have been seen later walking alongside Kim on state TV after their reported demise.
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