North Korea executed its nuclear envoy to the United States as part of a purge of officials who steered negotiations for a failed summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, a South Korean newspaper said on Friday. Kim Hyok Chol was executed in March at Mirim Airport in Pyongyang, along with four foreign ministry officials after they were charged with spying for the United States, the Chosun Ilbo reported, citing an unidentified source with knowledge of the situation. “He was accused of spying for the United States for poorly reporting on the negotiations without properly grasping U.S. intentions,” the source was quoted as saying. The February summit in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, the second between Kim and Trump, failed to reach a deal because of conflicts over U.S. calls for complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and North Korean demands for sanctions relief. Reuters was unable to independently confirm the report. Previously, North Korean officials have been executed or purged only to reappear with a new title, according to media reports. A spokeswoman at South Korea’s Unification Ministry declined to comment. An official at the presidential Blue House in Seoul said it was inappropriate to comment on an unverified report. The United States is attempting to check on the reports of the envoy’s execution, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during his visit to Berlin on Friday When asked about reports of a “shakeup” of Kim Jong Un’s negotiating team in a May 5 interview with ABC
The Trump administration pressed ahead Friday with plans to create an “Arab NATO” that would unite U.S. partners in the Middle East in an anti-Iran alliance, but Qatar said the crisis among Gulf countries must be solved first. “The real challenge facing the U.S.-led alliance is to solve the Gulf crisis,” Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Than said.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday delayed his own order to declassify and release documents from the FBI’s Russia investigation, saying the Justice Department and U.S. allies have raised security concerns about their disclosure. The announcement, in a pair of tweets, represented a highly unusual walk-back for a president who has pressed for the release of classified information that he believes will expose “really bad things” at the FBI and discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign
A statement from the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the latest aid cut was part of a U.S. attempt “to liquidate the Palestinian cause” and said it would threaten the lives of thousands of Palestinians and the livelihoods of thousands of hospital employees.
“This dangerous and unjustified American escalation has crossed all red lines and is considered a direct aggression against the Palestinian people,” it said.
U.S. President Donald Trump: “Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff….”