Top aide to North Korea’s Kim appears in public despite purge report

Kim Jong Chol
Kim Jong Chol

Kim Jong Chol, a top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has appeared in public, according to state-run media despite a widely repeated South Korean report that he had been sent to a labour camp after a failed summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Jong Chol acted as Jong Un’s top negotiator in discussions with the U.S. about North Korean nuclear disarmament ahead of February’s summit in Hanoi, which ended prematurely with no agreement.

A South Korean newspaper reported earlier that he had been purged and another top official, special envoy to the U.S. Kim Hyok Chol, had been executed over the failure.

But official North Korean news agency KCNA published a report on Monday saying Jong Chol attended a dance performance with Jong Un a day earlier.

Hyok Chol was not listed among the attendees.

Such reports of purges have been proven wrong in the past due to the secretive nature of the North Korean state it is difficult to confirm them.

In April, South Korean media reported that Jong Chol had been removed from his post as negotiator but there has been no official confirmation from Pyongyang.

Monday’s KCNA report referred to him simply as a “leading official’’ of the ruling Workers’ Party. (dpa/NAN)

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