According to widespread reports, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered the execution of at least five diplomats who attended his latest meeting with Trump including one of the highest ranking diplomats.
North Korea's special representative for U.S. affairs, Kim Hyok Chol, who you might say was the counterpart to U.S. nuclear envoy Stephen Biegun, was reportedly executed by firing squad.
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.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's direct counterpart was also sentenced to one of North Korea's infamous labor camps along with members of his diplomatic team.
Kim Yong Chol, Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man and the counterpart to Pompeo before the Hanoi summit, had been sent to a labor and reeducation camp in Jagang Province near the Chinese border, the Chosun Ilbo reported. [...]
The penalized members of Kim Yong Chol’s team included Kim Song Hye, who led the preparations, and Sin Hye Yong, a newly elevated interpreter for the Hanoi summit. They were said to have been detained in a camp for political prisoners, the newspaper said.
Kim Jong-un is ultimately responsible for this, but I will say that "properly grasping U.S. intentions" is virtually impossible because Trump has no clear or solid intentions. So, in some small manner, Trump is also partially responsible for this.
It's obviously quite a stretch to go from being unable to predict the actions of the unpredictable Donald Trump to accusing someone of "spying," but that just demonstrates why relying on the good graces or intentions of Kim Jong-un is a very bad idea.
Trump likes to say that Kim Jong-un simply wants to see his country economically prosper and Trump has hinged his entire pitch to the North on economic relief and the prospect of opening up international trade and business, but these are not the actions of a leader who gives two shits about any of that. It couldn't be more clear that Kim Jong-un will not accept any challenge to his power or image, least of all a Starbucks or McDonald's.
With all of that said, there's a strong possibility that Trump will take Kim Jong-un's side in this. Again.