Wars happen when diplomacy fails. But only in North Korea can a failed diplomat possibly be at the end of a firing squad.
That is at least the reported fate of & # 39; special & # 39; envoy Kim Hyok-chol and other more junior foreign officials from Pyongyang.
They had been involved in high-level preparations for the February nuclear summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, where their boss, roly-poly tyrant Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump met to try and solve the issue of nuclear proliferation at the Korean peninsula to resolve. .
There was a lot at stake: crippling international sanctions against the Pyongyang regime could have been eased or even lifted if the summit was a success.
Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump met in February to try and solve the problem of nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula
But the meetings fell into an impasse early on. A ceremony for signing the treaty was canceled and the official lunch did not go up.
Public humiliation everywhere – and the fate of Kim Hyok-chol and his colleagues were sealed.
Their executions could even have taken place once their aircraft landed in North Korea. A South Korean newspaper quoted a North Korean source yesterday as follows: & Kim Hyok-chol was investigated and executed at Mirim airport in March with four foreign officials from the ministry. & # 39; They were accused of espionage for the US, the report said.
If it were a traditional firing squad, then they could praise themselves strangely happy. After all, this is the wild, blood-soaked world of Kim Jong-un.
Other officials to arouse the displeasure of the Honorable Leader have allegedly been executed by a flame thrower, mortar round, anti-aircraft guns – a particular favorite – poison or consumed by packs of voracious dogs.
Their & # 39; crimes & # 39; in the capital were as arbitrary and unimportant as lanky, napping, drinking and flirting through the heavier allegations of corruption and betrayal. Family ties are also not protection. An uncle and a half-brother have both been dismissed in recent years.
Now Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, who acted as his ashtray and pen holder at the doomed summit and who is described as his closest confidant, is also & # 39; lying down & # 39; called.
And his interpreter at the top was sent to a labor camp. Since taking over power in 2012 following the death of his father Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un's international profile has undergone a number of fluctuations.
The special envoy Kim Hyok-chol was reportedly executed in March
Regarding his succession, he was seen by many as the apotheosis of spoiled nepotism; an overweight 20-year-old playboy who could nevertheless help end the ongoing cold war between North Korea and the rest of the world. Finally, he had attended school in Switzerland, loved basketball, French cigarettes, Johnnie Walker whiskey and The Beatles. Important steps forward and several have returned.
Kim, 37, became a first North Korean leader to enter South Korea since the end of the 1953 Korean war.
But his constant development of nuclear weapons and long-range rocket tests put him in touch with President Trump – who brought him & # 39; Little Rocket Man & # 39; mentioned – in the diplomacy of brinkmanship. Their first summit in Singapore was considered a success and suddenly Kim & # 39; s image makers wanted to paint him as affable, even cool and huggable. Now in the aftermath of Hanoi, he returns to type: a vengeful dictator with a well-developed sadistic streak.
One of the earliest and more spectacularly reported victims of the Kim Jong-un era was high army minister Kim Chol. His alleged crime was during the official mourning period for the father of Kim Jong-un & # 39; carousing & # 39; to have been.
His fate – if it were true – was cruel to his background. The old soldier was instructed to stand in a place that was & # 39; zeroed & # 39; by an army of mortar crew.
He was one of more than twelve officials who were purged in the first months of Kim & # 39; s government. The following year saw perhaps the most shocking cleansing when Kim & # 39; s uncle was arrested, humiliated and charged with suffering a death of controversial horrors.
Jang Song-Thaek, 67, the husband of the deceased father of the Kim had risen as vice president of the National Defense Commission. He was seen as an eminence grise for the inexperienced Kim. In December 2013, his arrest was broadcast live on national television at a politburo meeting.
In the aftermath of the Hanoi summit, Kim returns to type: a vengeful dictator with a well-developed sadistic streak
A long statement was then released that Jang described as & # 39; despicable human scum … worse than a dog, committing three times cursed treachery in betrayal of such deep trust and the warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him & # 39 ;. What happened next has been the subject of a number of claims from North Korean defectors and other & # 39; sources & # 39 ;.
At first it was thought that he had been executed by anti-aircraft guns. Then a Chinese newspaper reported a much worse fate in 2014. Jang was undressed naked and fed to a couple of hundred hungry dogs.
Earlier this year, a defector supported the first version of the fall of the insider, this time with even gorier detail. Kang Cheol-hwan said that Jang was forced to see two colleagues who were blown apart by a battery of eight anti-aircraft guns.
Spattered by their blood, he fainted. Later, he too was killed by the same method that is meant to cause fear and leave nothing for the families to collect. Kang also described how a senior police officer in the neighborhood of Jang was burned alive with a flame thrower and his corpse crushed by tanks.
A wandering politician and his mistress are also stripped naked and torn apart by a couple of dogs.
And blood was still flowing. In 2015, a senior defector stated that Kim & # 39; s defense chief, Hyon Yong-chol, had been killed by the anti-aircraft gun method. It also appeared that Uncle Jang's widow was poisoned after complaining about her husband's execution. Other officials suffered fewer high-profile endings. And let's not forget the thousands that have been sent to prisons and have labor camps where they are routinely sexually and physically abused and tortured.
But the most heinous crime clearly decreases when Kim talks. In 2016 two more senior officials went for anti-aircraft defense.
The following year, at the height of tensions with the US, two more officers were executed during a launch delay on a North Korean missile site.
Kim can also reach beyond his own limits. In February 2017, his exiled half-brother Kim Jong-nam was murdered in a case that set global deadlines when two women spit him out with a nerve agent at Kuala Lumpar airport. He died on the way to the hospital.
Now it seems that it is the diplomatic branch that feels its anger. Dr. Jim Hoare, a Korea specialist at the Chatham House International Institute, told the Mail that he needed additional confirmation that the diplomats had been killed. But he added: & # 39; It was clear that there was disappointment in the higher echelons … that more did not come from the top of Hanoi and it is a very ruthless country. & # 39;
He said that reports of the executions & # 39; maybe also work in favor of Kim & # 39; – with emphasis on its toughness. Dr. Hoare adds: & # 39; If you wanted to scare the monkeys off, cut off the chicken's head, as the Korean saying goes. & # 39;
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