◆ Is the motive to pass the buck for the failure of the summit?
Almost identical information appears to be spreading in other cities. On April 23, a reporting partner in Hyesan City, Yanggang Province was asked if they too had heard news of the executions.
“That rumor is also being told in Hyesan City. I heard that 4 foreign ministry officials were shot dead for receiving money from America for information ahead of the failed summit.”
At the general assembly of the Workers' Party Central Committee and the Supreme People's Assembly, which was held on April 11, there was no clear indication that the Foreign Ministry would be sidelined from further negotiations. In addition, it is not known at present whether or not the executions were actually carried out. However, the name of North Korea's special U.S. representative at the Hanoi summit, Kim Hyuk-chul, has disappeared from the record.
An atmosphere of disappointment spread across North Korea after the collapse of the Hanoi summit, with the goal of easing economic sanctions not being met. In order to minimize perceptions of Kim Jong-un's negotiation failure and shift the responsibility, the authorities may be intentionally disseminating rumors of treachery by a foreign ministry official.
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- ＜Inside N. Korea＞ Held Tongues, Tied Hands: Officials Concerned as Rising Anti-U.S. Sentiment Creates Obstacle for Negotiations