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'Purged' N.Korean Official Takes in Concert With Kim

Sources claimed he had been sent to gulag
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 3, 2019 12:40 AM CDT
In this June 1, 2018 photo, President Trump 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...   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
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(Newser) – 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, the AP reports. Kim Yong Chol has been North Korea's top nuclear negotiator and the counterpart of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo since Kim Jong Un entered nuclear talks with the US early last year. He traveled to Washington and met President 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. 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. Seoul's spy service has said it could not confirm the newspaper's report, while the presidential Blue House declined to comment.

(Read more North Korea stories.)

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