Some North Korean officials who were involved with the summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump have been executed after the meeting failed to produce any meaningful gains for either side, according to Reuters.
The Hanoi summit in February ended abruptly after Pres. Trump walked away from negotiations, saying Kim was asking for too much in exchange for steps toward denuclearization.
Kim Hyok Chol, a special envoy to the United States, along with four other foreign ministry officials who helped set up the summit, were reportedly executed and blamed for meeting’s failure. The Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, reported that the officials were charged with spying for the United States.
Kim Yong Chol, a counterpart to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Shin Hye Yong, an interpreter for Kim Jong Un, were reportedly subjected to forced labor as punishment for their roles in the summit.
More information was published by North Korea’s state newspaper. From Reuters:
North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary on Thursday that “Acting like one is revering the Leader in front (of others) but dreaming of something else when one turns around, is an anti-Party, anti-revolutionary act that has thrown away the moral fidelity toward the Leader, and such people will not avoid the stern judgment of the revolution.”
“There are traitors and turncoats who only memorize words of loyalty toward the Leader and even change according to the trend of the time,” the commentary said.
Pres. Trump has maintained a conciliatory stance toward Kim, despite disagreement with senior national security advisers and other heads of state on the issue.
Recently, North Korea tested short range ballistic missiles in violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution, but Pres. Trump publicly disagreed with both Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and national security adviser John Bolton.
“My people think it could have been a violation,” Trump said. “I view it differently.”