Speed Reads


North Korean diplomat reappears after report he was sentenced to hard labor

A North Korean diplomat reported to have been sentenced to hard labor as part of a political purge has just made a public appearance.

What appears to be an image of Kim Yong Chol, former North Korean military intelligence chief and aide to Kim Jong Un, sitting near Kim Jong Un at an art performance was released by North Korea's state media on Monday, CNN reports. His name was also included on a list of officials who attended the event, The New York Times reports.

This comes after it had been reported by South Korean media that the former nuclear envoy, who visited President Trump at the White House last year, had been "purged" as numerous diplomats were blamed for the failed February summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un. The report also stated that five officials involved in U.S. negotiations had been executed, including special envoy Kim Hyok Chol.

In recent months, the Times reports that Kim Yong Chol's visibility "has been vastly curtailed" as his influence is thought to be in decline due to the failed summit, although the original report of his forced labor sentence had been met with some skepticism. CNN notes that "an invitation to join Kim Jong Un in public would likely not be extended to someone who had fallen out of favor."