In early May, reports out of South Korea said that four top North Korean officials involved with the February Hanoi summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump were now dead; executed on orders from the North Korean leader as punishment for that summit’s failure, as The Inquisitr reported.
Those reports now appear to be confirmed, as South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper has revealed the name of one of the officials killed, and others who have been sent to prison camps, in what the paper’s sources describe as a “brutal purge” of the top diplomatic officials whom Kim held responsible for the collapse of the Hanoi summit.
Trump walked out of the summit when Kim told him that he wanted the United States to lift all economic sanctions against North Korea, according to a CNN report. Trump explained his walkout by saying, “Sometimes you have to walk. This was just one of those times.”
But his walkout appears to have cost the lives of at least four top diplomats, including Kim’s special envoy to the U.S., Kim Hyok Chol, according to a Reuters report. The envoy was shot along with four other officials at Pyongyang’s Mirim Airport some time in March. The senior diplomat and the others who were killed were accused by the North Korean leader of being spies for the United States.
Also purged was the direct counterpart to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Kim Yong Chol, who survived the purge without being executed, instead being banished by Kim Jong Un to a hard-labor camp in Jagang Province, a region along the Chinese border in western North Korea, according to the Chosun Ilbo sources. Kim Yong Chol, who is 73-years-old, is also reportedly being forced to endure ideological re-education, according to an Independent newspaper report.
Kim Jong Un’s own younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, who served as an aide to her brother at the Trump summit in Hanoi, may also have fallen victim to the purge, though according to the South Korean newspaper sources, she has simply been told to “lie low.”
“Kim Yo Jong has not been spotted in public since the Hanoi summit,” a source told Chosun Ilbo.
But Kim’s interpreter Shin Hye Yong did not fare as well, after being sent to a prison camp for committing a translation error that “tarnished the authority” of Kim Jong Un at the summit.
Though the executions of the top officials have been known outside of North Korea at least since late April, Trump has continued to praise Kim Jong Un as recently as last Sunday. Trump, at that time, said he maintained “confidence” in Kim, and appeared to delight in agreeing with Kim’s description of Democratic presidential contender and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden as “a low-IQ individual,” according to The Washington Post.