North Korea Reportedly Executes Nuclear Envoy to US
Jun 02 2019
Four foreign ministry officials who were also charged with spying for the USA were executed with him, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified source with knowledge of the situation.
It is the first time since the December 2013 execution of Jang Song-thaek, Kim Jong-un's uncle, that expressions hinting at purging such as "anti-party, anti-revolutionary" and "stern judgment" appeared in Rodong Sinmun, Chosun Ilbo said.
Trump tweeted in response to the strike drills, stating his belief that North Korea would not take action to jeopardize its growing economic relations with the US.
Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un's sister, who assisted her brother in Hanoi is keeping a low profile, the paper reported.
However, the names of four other officials are not reported in the report. The newspaper cited a single unnamed source "who knows about North Korea".
Reuters was unable to independently confirm the report.
The revelations came the day after a South Korean newspaper reported that his envoy for USA affairs was executed because of the failure of Kim's summit with Donald Trump in Vietnam in February.
Whilst one diplomatic source said they were unsure about the executions, there were signs Kim Hyok Chol and other officials were "punished for the breakdown of the summit, such as by being sent to a labour camp for reeducation".
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 talks between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trumpended abruptly after it became clear the USA was unwilling to lift economic sanctions without further movement on Pyongyang's nuclear programme.
The move is an effort to defuse tensions following a failed summit in Hanoi, Vietnam in February.
An official at South Korea's Unification Ministry declined comment.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, asked about the report Friday, said only that the administration had seen it. You can't tell me that we don't have the technology and the fortitude to do something like that, but as long as this man remains in power, stories like this are going to continue to emerge.
"There are traitors and turncoats who only memorise words of loyalty toward the leader and even change according to the trend of the time".
All eyes have been on North Korea, as reports suggest chairman Kim could have executed his envoy from the prior summit. North Korea's state media months later showed that Ri was alive and in possession of several new senior posts.