Meanwhile, Russia says North Korea willing to give up nukes in exchange for multi-nation security guarantees
The fallout from the failed Hanoi Summit has been streaming out of North Korea over this past week.
To start with, North Korean’s Kim Jong-un is blaming Team Trump’s “bad faith” for the failure to make progress on nuclear talks and brought up a $2 million bill for hostage Otto Warmbier’s “medical care.”
Technically, Warmbier was alive when North Korea sent him home in 2017. But he was comatose, and died days after his release.
Unreported then was the regime’s insistence that a US diplomat sign a form agreeing to pay for the “care” Warmbier had received. Some are sniggering that President Trump reportedly OK’d the signature, as if he should have left the hostage to rot.
Pyongyang later tried to use the utterly meaningless document to justify its seven-figure invoice.
President Trump indicates that no money has been paid related to this invoice.
On other fronts, reports indicate that Putin says North Korea may be willing to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees.
After Thursday’s summit in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok, about 75 miles from the North Korean border, Putin stressed that Moscow and Washington both want North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons. But, he said, the security guarantees Kim demands in exchange should be underwritten by multiple countries, hinting at an arrangement like the six-nation talks Russia participated in until their collapse in 2009.
Putin later headed for a two-day trip to Beijing, where he said he will inform the Chinese leadership about the summit.
“And we will just as openly discuss this issue with the U.S. leadership,” Putin said. “There are no secrets. Russia’s position always has been transparent. There are no plots of any kind.”
Additional North Korean political fallout from the failed summit in Vietnam comes in the form of four executions of North Korean officials accused of selling information to the U.S. ahead of the meeting in Hanoi.
The four workers, all said to be from the foreign ministry, were allegedly killed by firing squad after talks in Vietnam between the two countries broke down.
One of the four, said to have been shot dead in the capital Pyongyang earlier this month, was reportedly a diplomat from North Korea’s embassy in Hanoi.
Dictator Kim, 35, blamed the failure of the summit on information leaked to the US before the meeting at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi in February, according to Japanese news agency Asia Press.
The executions were watched by members of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and Korean People’s Army, according to reports by local media.
This development occurs in the wake of a massive administrative shake-up by Kim recently.
There are also reports that Kim has given his sister a demotion and removed his right-hand man following the failed summit.
According to the rumour, the officials who were executed were blamed for the summit’s failure.
But there was speculation that the claims were fabricated in an attempt to shift the responsibility for the failure off of Kim and onto officials who allegedly betrayed the leader.
It seems likely that the current level of sanctions are hurting North Korea, and because Trump did not follow the usual playbook, Kim is scrambling for alternative approaches.
But some observers say the sanctions, toughened over the past several years, are gradually drying up Kim’s foreign currency reserves and he is desperate to find ways to bring in hard currency. His propaganda service is already saying that North Koreans can survive with only “water and air.”
Perhaps Kim’s new team will make better choices in the near future.DONATE
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