Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Wednesday, November 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 35° Clear
News >  World

Top North Korean official reappears days after purge report

UPDATED: Mon., June 3, 2019

In this June 1, 2018,  photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, talks with Kim Yong Chol, former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un’s closest aides, as they walk from their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. The senior North Korean official who had been reported as purged over the failed nuclear summit with Washington was shown in state media enjoying a concert alongside leader Kim Jong Un. North Korean publications on Monday, June 3, 2019, showed Kim Yong Chol sitting near a clapping Kim Jong Un and other top officials during a musical performance by the wives of Korean People’s Army officers. (Andrew Harnik / AP)
In this June 1, 2018, photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, right, talks with Kim Yong Chol, former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un’s closest aides, as they walk from their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. The senior North Korean official who had been reported as purged over the failed nuclear summit with Washington was shown in state media enjoying a concert alongside leader Kim Jong Un. North Korean publications on Monday, June 3, 2019, showed Kim Yong Chol sitting near a clapping Kim Jong Un and other top officials during a musical performance by the wives of Korean People’s Army officers. (Andrew Harnik / AP)
By Kim Tong-Hyung Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — A senior North Korean official who had been reported as purged over the failed nuclear summit with Washington was shown in state media on Monday enjoying a concert alongside leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korean publications on Monday showed Kim Yong Chol sitting near a clapping Kim Jong Un and other top officials during a musical performance by the wives of Korean People’s Army officers.

Kim Yong Chol has been North Korea’s top nuclear negotiator and the counterpart of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo since Kim Jong Un entered nuclear talks with the U.S. early last year. He traveled to Washington and met President Donald Trump twice before Kim’s two summits with Trump.

South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo last week cited an unidentified source to report that Kim Yong Chol had been sentenced to hard labor following the collapse of the second summit in February over what the Americans described as excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for only a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities. Kim Jong Un since then has said the United States has until the end of the year to come up with mutually acceptable terms for a deal to salvage the negotiations.

Chosun Ilbo also reported that senior envoy Kim Hyok Chol, who was involved in pre-summit working-level talks with American officials, was executed with four other officials from the North’s Foreign Ministry for betraying Kim Jong Un after being won over by the United States.

South Korea’s government and media have a mixed record on tracking developments among North Korea’s ruling elite, made difficult by Pyongyang’s stringent control of information about them. Seoul’s spy service has said it could not confirm the newspaper’s report, while the presidential Blue House declined to comment.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com