Kim Yong Chol , Kim Jong Un, North Korea

A senior North Korean official who had been reported as being purged over the failed nuclear summit with Washington was shown in state media on Monday enjoying a concert near leader Kim Jong Un. North Korean publications on Monday showed Kim Yong Chol sitting five seats away from a clapping Kim Jong Un in the same row along with other top officials during a musical performance by the wives of Korean People’s Army officers. A report by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency named Kim Yong Chol among the attendees of the event, which it said “impressively represented the ideological and mental features of KPA officers’ wives, who make every moment of their life honorable with ardent yearning for the leader.” Kim Yong Chol has been North Korea’s top nuclear negotiator and the counterpart of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo since Kim Jong Un entered nuclear talks with the U.S. early last year. He traveled to Washington and met President Donald Trump twice before Kim’s two summits with Trump. Negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have been at a standstill since February, when the second summit between Trump and Kim broke down over what the United States described as excessive North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for only a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities. Last week, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo cited an unidentified source in reporting that Kim Yong Chol had been sentenced to hard labor and ideological re-education over the failed summit in Hanoi, Vietnam’s…

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