The North Korean Envoy to the U.S is believed to have been executed by firing squad for supposedly ‘betraying the supreme leader’ over the failed Hanoi summit. Kim Jong-un ordered the purge of four state officials each with their own ‘capital crimes’.
Kim Hyok Chol who accompanied Kim on his private train as he attended the nuclear envoy at the Vietnam summit with president Donald Trump, was shot for being ‘won over to the US’ during the negotiations, a local source revealed.
‘He was accused of spying for the United States for poorly reporting on the negotiations without properly grasping U.S. intentions,’ the source was quoted as saying.
Chosun Ilbo, a local newspaper reported that Kim Hyok Chol was executed alongside four senior foreign ministry officials at the Mirim Airport on March following an investigation.
The four other officials remain unnamed although they were all allegedly implicated in crimes amounting to treason for becoming U.S. ‘spies’ after the failed summit between Trump and Kim that ended abruptly in February.
Another senior official, Kim Yong Chol who was part of the nuclear negotiations team with U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo was sent o a forced labor camp for ideological re-education.
Kim Song Hye, a woman who worked alongside Kim Hyok Chol during the talks with Pompeo was not spared either. She was reportedly sent to another unnamed prison camp.
The paper also said that Kim’s translator Shin Hye Yong was sent to a prison camp for a mistake at the summit.
She failed to translate Kim’s new proposal when Trump in a fit of rage shouted ‘no deal’ before walking away from the discussion table. Shin was charged with making critical interpretation mistakes that included an unspecified ‘last-minute offer’ the North Korean leader supposedly made while Trump was about to walk out.
Kim Hyok Chol has been present in most talks with the US. And was perceived as rising star although little was known of the role he undertook in these discussions.
The other four executed alongside him were diplomats working on Vietnam relations, the Chosun reports.
According to a diplomatic source, the detention of Kim Song Hye, the woman working alongside Hyok was inevitable because she was regarded the ‘prime author’ of the North’s plan to secure sanctions relief in return for dismantling the Yongbyon main nuclear complex.
The Americans rejected the offer, instead, demanding a comprehensive plan for denuclearization.
These high profile purgings are the first since the trigger-happy dictator ordered his uncle to be blown to pieces by an anti-aircraft gun during his publicized execution in December 2013.
Kim Jong Un and Trump left the Vietnamese capital without a deal after they failed to reach agreement on rolling back Pyongyang’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
The North has since sought to raise the pressure and carried out two short-range missile tests in May.