Kim Jong Un executed several of the people responsible for the negotiations after his Hanoi summit with Trump was a failure.
Kim Jong Un, the brutal dictator Trump has called "very honorable," executed five North Korean officials in March because his talks with Trump broke down.
According to Bloomberg, the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported that North Korea executed Kim Hyok Chol, who was the country's top nuclear envoy with the United States. Kim had been the leader of negotiations for the Trump-Kim summit in February 2019. Chosun said that Kim was executed by firing squad "after being charged with espionage for allegedly being co-opted by the U.S." The newspaper didn't name the other four people executed but did note they were foreign ministry officials.
Kim Jong Un is engaging in an "internal purge" because his summit with Trump was a failure, with Trump abruptly walking away. Chosun has also reported that Kim Yong Chol, a high-level party official who had visited the White House as the "main point man for diplomacy with the United States" had been purged and sentenced to forced labor.
Even more disturbing, it appears that the United States may have known about these executions before Trump's Memorial Day weekend state visit to Japan. During that visit, Trump downplayed North Korea's recent missile tests and gleefully repeated that Kim had called former Vice President Joe Biden "low IQ." In early May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked if he could verify that some members of the North Korean negotiating team had been executed. Pompeo said, "I don't have anything to add to that."
This is just another episode in Kim's long history of barbarous executions of those who displeased him. He's had his own uncle murdered and he's publicly executed several of his uncle's associates, including with a flame-thrower.
All of this has been publicly known for ages, but none of it has ever deterred Trump from lavishing praise on Kim. He's declared that he and Kim fell in love. He's barred reporters from covering a dinner with "my friend Kim Jong Un." Even after the February summit collapsed, Trump praised the "warmth" he had with Kim and that they were "positioned to do something very special."
Trump knows exactly what kind of person Kim Jong Un is. The problem is, he just doesn't care.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.