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Punished North Korean envoy back in the picture?

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 6/03/19, 10:49 am

North Korea’s nuclear envoy appeared beside leader Kim Jong Un at an art performance on Sunday, just days after a South Korean newspaper reported he was punished severely for failed talks with the United States. Kim Yong Chol was one of 12 “leading officials” who followed Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, to the performance by wives of army officers, the Korean Central News Agency said on Monday. A photo from the event showed him five seats away from the leader during the event.

South Korean Chosun Ilbo on Friday reported that Kim Yong Chol was sentenced to forced labor and “ideological education” over February’s failed summit in Vietnam between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump. Five other foreign ministry executives, including special U.S. envoy Kim Hyok Chol, reportedly were charged with spying and executed in March. But South Korean media has in the past incorrectly reported the executions of North Korean officials who later showed up with the country’s leader. South Korea’s presidential Blue House did not confirm the media report and warned against “hasty judgements or comments.”

Editor’s note: WORLD Digital updated this report to clarify Kim Yong Chol’s reported punishment.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD's Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria. Follow her on Twitter @onize_ohiks.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Mon, 06/03/2019 03:00 pm

    An Observation from Captain Obvious:

    Nothing that comes out of North Korea can be taken at face value.  Most of what comes out of North Korea is carefully managed, although I am sure mistakes are made at times.  (And you can bet those who make mistakes do pay a price.)