By Fred Fleitz
South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported last week that North Korea executed five foreign ministry officials in March because of the collapse of the February 2019 Vietnam Summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. In addition, Kim Yong-chol, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s counterpart, reportedly was sentenced to forced labor.
Two press reports indicate the Chosun Ilbo story was at least partially erroneous. Kim Yong-chol was spotted at an event with Kim Jong-un on June 2, according to The New York Times.
CNN reported on June 4 that another North Korean official who reportedly was executed, special envoy to the United States Kim Hyok-chol, is alive but in state custody. This official reportedly is under investigation for his role in the failure of the Vietnam summit and could face “heavy punishment.”
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