‘Purged’ top NK envoy seen with Kim Jong-un at a show

Pyongyang [North Korea]: A senior North Korean official, Kim Yong ChoI, who was reportedly ‘purged’ after Washington – Pyongyang talks collapsed in February, made an appearance at an event with leader Kim Jong-un, Yonhap media reported on Monday.

ChoI was the North Korean counterpart of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the several rounds of talks between the two countries. The talks failed after two hopeful summits collapsed.

Media reports erupted that he had been sent to a hard labour and re-education camp near the Chinese border. However, recent pictures emerging from an art performance raise questions over these claims.

South Korea’s presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, earlier said it’s premature to conclude that such a purge is actually underway in North Korea.

“There’s nothing we can confirm (for you),” Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung told reporters Friday. “We are monitoring all related situations (in North Korea). But I think it’s important to figure out how much information in the article has been confirmed.”

The reports also claimed that North Korea had executed another negotiator, the nuclear envoy to the US, Kim Hyok Chol.

However, what further raised doubts was the announcement of ChoI’s successor, although there is no official confirmation about his execution so far.