North Korea’s Chief Interlocutor in negotiations with the United States, Kim Yong Chol, has been removed from his post, South Korean media reported on Wednesday.
The Yonhap news agency, citing a South Korean lawmaker who had information from Seoul’s spy agency, said Kim was replaced by Jang Kum Chol as head of the United Front Department, which is tasked with managing inter-Korean relations.
The report did not speculate on why the change may have been made.
Kim was U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s North Korean counterpart in the talks between Pyongyang and Washington on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
He visited the White House in January to meet U.S. President Donald Trump.
The diplomat was regarded as a close confidant of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, most recently serving as the vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party.
Recently, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said Pompeo should be replaced by someone “more mature’’.
Meanwhile, the U.S. attempt to get North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons programme has stalled.