N. Korea “executes envoy to U.S.” over failed summit

May 31, 2019, 3:01 AM EDT
The executed officials laid the groundwork for February’s Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi.
(Source: The White House/flickr)

A South Korean newspaper claims that the North has killed Kim Hyok-chol, its nuclear envoy to the U.S., after the failure of summits between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Hyok-chol, who laid the groundwork for February’s Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, was executed along with four other foreign ministry executives in March on charges of spying for Washington after he misread America’s intentions and reported poorly on the negotiations, reports Reuters.

The South Korean Chosun Ilbo newspaper said that the latest round of purge in North Korea is aimed at deflecting attention from internal turmoil and discontent, notes The Guardian. The report of this purge is testified, to an extent, by a commentary in the North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Thursday, which warned that “anti-party, anti-revolutionary act” of “traitors and turncoats” would not avoid the stern judgement.