(Photo) Jang Song-thaek, who was sentenced to death and executed. Taken in December 2013 (Rodong Sinmun)

◆ They say the reason for failure was that “Information was sold to the Americans before the summit”

Rumors are spreading across North Korea. Reportedly, 4 foreign ministry officials, held responsible for the failure of the Hanoi summit in late February, were executed by firing squad in Pyongyang in April. It is not clear whether or not the executions actually took place but rumors of such are widespread, not only in Pyongyang, but in the provincial cities as well. (Kang Ji-won/ISHIMARU Jiro)

A North Korean trade official who was visiting China from Pyongyang in mid-April told a Chinese reporting partner for ASIAPRESS, “I heard that 4 foreign ministry officials, held responsible for the failure of the Trump meeting, were shot to death.” He added, however, that there were no details and that it was “nothing more than rumors”.

On April 22, a reporting partner living in a city in North Hamgyong Province also gave related information. This time there were more specifics.

“They say the executions took place in Pyongyang in early April when a total of four people, including an official from the North Korean embassy in Hanoi and a foreign ministry official were shot in front of a gathering of officials from the Central Party and the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces. The Hanoi embassy official had sold information from our side to the Americans before the summit took place. The talks ended in failure because Trump knew the information in advance,” the reporting partner said.

The reporting partner explained how they had come across the information, saying, “In the city where I live, several officials were talking about the execution of a Foreign Ministry official. It seemed as if they were doing so on purpose- it even feels like the authorities are spreading information about the shooting intentionally. It's on the lips of lots of ordinary people.”

What has been the public response to this information?

According to the reporting partner, people are asking, “If they were executed, how important was the material that was handed over?” There are also some people who question the information, asking, “Was it 4 people rather than one who turned sides?”

Next page : Is the motive to pass the buck for the failure of the summit?…

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