North Korean Negotiator’s Downfall Was Sealed When Trump-Kim Summit Collapsed

The fate of Kim Yong-chol provides the latest example of how a senior North Korean official’s political fortune is made or broken at the whims of Kim Jong-un.

Comments: 196

  1. And this is the guy - Kim - that the fool Trump “fell in love with”? One thing I’ll say about this corrupt, morally bankrupt conman Trump, he’s consistent. If there a ruthless dictator killing journalists, murdering political rivals, or attacking our democracy, the vulgar self serving Trump will be in bed with them.

  2. @Steven Just one caveat though. There just has to be a potential profit motive somewhere in the mix for Trump or, at the very least, a willingness to feed his pathologic narcissism.

  3. And that's not a visual I want to see.

  4. And you thought it was rough being a part of Trump's team . . . .

  5. @Blackberry88 Trump is just a weak-kneed pushover. He played a "tough guy" on reality tv and kept saying "You're FIRED!" but he cannot fire anyone in real life face-to-face. He fired Comey by having Keith Schuller carry a typed letter to FBI HQ and placing it on his desk. He fired Rex Tillerson by tweet, which Tillerson apparently read while sitting on the throne while on a trip overseas. He asked Don McGahn to fire Mueller, and McGahn did nothing. Trump is such a tough guy.

  6. @Joe From Boston it seems Trump's goal in life is to diminish and humiliate men who are strong, accomplished, powerful, and educated - all men who have minds of their own that don't always agree with his judgement. emasculating powerful men seems to make Trump feel more masculine or somehow "better than" those he hurts. sick and sad for America to have a leader like that.

  7. May 27th: Donald Trump defends dictator Kim Jong Un's bashing of Joe Biden. Sarah Sanders confirms Trump and Jong Un agree. May 31st: Kim Jong Un has reportedly executed the country’s special envoy to the United States over February’s failed summit between Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

  8. @JM and let's not forget Trump's bashing of a Vietnam war hero Sen. John McCain and the utter fiasco in Japan with the John S McCain Navy vessel.

  9. What a horror show Kim's regime is for any official working in it. And still Trump touts Kim as Mr. Wonderful, who would happily kill Pompeo and Company if he had the chance.

  10. Mr. Kim will never give up his nuclear weapons no matter what. They will lie and keep a few for regime assurance. The continued presence of the US military on the Korean peninsula has only given the Kim dynasty the reason to develop nuclear weapons. Jimmy Carter had planned to remove US troops from the South in 1978, and allow the South to defend itself. He was overturned by the Pentagon. If he removed the military, the North would have no reason to develop and aim their nucllear weapons at our cities.

  11. @Pepperman "If he removed the military, the North would have no reason to develop and aim their nucllear weapons at our cities." It's a little more complicated than that, don't you think?

  12. It makes me so proud to be an American that the present occupant of the White House has this to say about the guy behind these executions (and hundreds if not thousands of others) "I like him. I get along with him great."

  13. @Rich Are you sure about "these executions"? Even US intelligence analysts appear to know now the details of the disappearance of the three individuals mentioned in the article.

  14. @Rich Are you sure about "these executions"? Even US intelligence analysts appear to not know the details of the disappearance of the three individuals mentioned in the article

  15. @Frank J Haydn Pretty quick to jump to the defense of Kim, and by extension Trump. Kim has executed hundreds upon hundreds, even his own family members, and while these couple named here might not be executed yet, Kim has a long sustained history of executions. Which I must say, your posts seem to be defending.

  16. The meaning of the disappearance from North Korea's state-run news media of the three North Korean officials mentioned in this article could also be a harbinger of a tougher line in the months ahead on the part of Pyongyang. Analysts should be asking themselves if Kim Jong Un cares enough about the 2020 US presidential election to shape his nuclear arms policies in a way that might influence that election's outcome. Certainly Kim knows how to grab international attention.

  17. @Frank J Haydn Analysts should be asking themselves if TRUMP cares enough about the 2020 US presidential election to shape his nuclear arms policies in a way that might influence that election's outcome. Certainly TRUMP knows how to grab international attention. Last time I looked it took TWO to tango.

  18. I suspect the trade disputes with China are going to help North Korea. China is less likely to pressure North Korea and possibly offer soft support to the regime. Although I don't hold the administration responsible for the purges in North Korea, I am surprised that many in the US are not upset by Trump praising Kim Jong-un and insulting Biden. Strange times.

  19. Based on a sample size of two, it would appear that ‘stable geniuses’ tend to agree that their failures are always the fault of someone else.

  20. @Tom McAllister Thanks for the good chuckles... Compelled to add, Go Raptors!

  21. @Tom McAllister Our president'd like nothing more than to have the power of the Presidential Execution at his fingertips. Perhaps with a Republican sweep in 2020, he'll get his Wish.

  22. What a shameful mess this Administration has gotten us involved with!!

  23. @Rev. Henry Bates Hold on a second. Are you blaming Mr. Trump for the unknown disposition of the three North Korean officials mentioned in this article?

  24. @Frank J Haydn If you, Frank, knew you were putting peoples lives in jeopardy by playing fast and loose with diplomacy you'd plow right ahead, consequences to others be damned?

  25. @Frank J Haydn no I think it's because Trump is in love with and has confidence in Kim Jung Un who is an amoral bloodthirsty dictator.

  26. Horrendous - N Korea, Saudia Arabia - are murder and mayhem becoming the norm again? This is like something out of Nazi Germany or Communist Russia- and the Trump/ Pompeo comment? Still in love?

  27. @Barbara "Horrendous - N Korea, Saudia Arabia - are murder and mayhem becoming the norm again?" again? this has always been the standard operation for leaders in N Korea, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China. this is nothing new.

  28. @Barbara The Communists in Russia after Stalin didn't execute each other. They were not so indecent.

  29. @Barbara - It's simply incredible that Trump is in the middle of both cases. His handlers are still not doing a very good job of keeping him out of trouble...

  30. Perhaps now Donald will stop treating international diplomacy as some sort of misbegotten version of the Bachelorette, with the world watching, waiting to see if Kim Jong Un is worthy of a Rose from a swain like Donald. While the superficiality of it all is cringe worthy, with Donald swooning like a golden calf, what is stupendously galling is the lack of preparation, clear expectations, and a unified message.

  31. @NJLatlifemom Trump simply does not care about anybody or anything, but himself. Here's the sad part... it will probably only take days for him to tweet his support for Kim on this matter, and lamenting that he does not have similar capital punishment power over anyone and everyone in the US.

  32. How much blood will Trump and Pompeo have on their hands before they are done screwing around and satisfying their egos? Disgraceful. They really don't care about anyone but themselves.

  33. @Susan Please tell us exactly why Trump and Pompeo are responsible for this.

  34. @EGD Because Trump and Pompeo have treated Kim with the respect due to a legitimate leader, and have not made basic human rights a prerequisite to any, repeat, ANY negotiations. Consequently, they legitimized Kim and are thereby complicit in his terrors. Before Trump, our leaders knew that acknowledging despots was to give them the honor of the American recognition that they craved. I kid you not. Read about shame-based cultures like Korea. Trump gave our acknowledgment away for nothing, because he is a boob, and thereby squandered our leverage in helping the starving and imprisoned people under Kim’s tyranny. Our country used to stand for high ideals, and many nations admired us for it. Since Vietnam we have piddled this legacy away. I miss the America that actually stood for something. Now we can’t even impeach this horror of a President because ideals take a back seat to calculation.

  35. @EGD Because they are the ones knowingly dealing with a murderer yet claim to trust him, believe in him, and think "things will work out great"; Your 2 friends didn't care about the mutilation murder of Khoshoghii nor do they care of the fates of the "failed" negotiaters. If trump walked away, whose failure is that.

  36. We cannot take this as business as usual. The U S has to insist on full disclosure of the fates of these men before we proceed another step. It is beyond horrifying that we would countenance any intercourse with a regime that takes such action with people with whom we communicated a few months ago. It is one thing to bewail Trump’s childish tantrums, or obsess on his latest prevarications. It is another to de facto collaborate in a firing squad— are you freaking kidding me? — against people who displease a despot. If we do not act with immediate sanctions and protests, we are complicit. Shame, shame, shame. Beyond measure. I do not recognize our country. I’m staying expatriate for the foreseeable future.

  37. Trump is surely envious of Kim. Why “lock ‘em up” when you can just kill ‘em?

  38. "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea." Dotard-In-Chief, Jun 13, 2018 What's the problem ? The North Korea issue was solved last June. (Whoops !) Just more roadkill from Donald Trump. He just keeps barreling down the highway looking for new and exciting cliffs to drive over with his golden parachute while all the passengers perish. Looking forward to America having a real President one day.

  39. This is obviously fake news. Our dear leader, Donald Trump, assured us that Kim Jong Un was a good guy, and good guys don't execute people just because they couldn't schedule a meeting. Thankfully, our nation is run by a stable genius who would never govern by his latest mood or someone's slight.

  40. I’m wouldn’t doubt our president is actually jealous of the tools Kim has at his disposal.

  41. Once again NYTs reporters and many of their readers are quick to assume that 'rumors' started by one right-wing South Korean newspaper are accurate. Affirms a 70 year demonizing narrative about North Korea and it's leadership that is rock solid in this country and limits our ability to view North Korea and US relations with it, thoughtfully. See this recent AP caution about purge rumors such as these that in the past have ultimately been proven to be false.

  42. As one who has spent time in N Korea, albeit only a few days, and under the usual extreme constrictions, I would more readily believe the hardline press about the fates of KJU’s enemies (those who embarrass or disappoint him, as well as anyone who genuinely opposes him) than other accounts which may attempt to soft-pedal the news. The viciousness of this regime, and the amazing fact that Kim Jong-Un actually seems to be keeping up with, if not exceeding, the family history of political murder and mayhem, lead me to accept the continuing horrors as utterly credible.

  43. Aren't you the consummate optimist.

  44. @Vivien Hessel. informed realist with some knowledge of the forgotten or never known history of US projection onto the Korean Peninsula and wider Notheast Asia. A history systematically erased from public education, which should raise flags among anyone who believes the US does or should value a fully informed citizenry.

  45. And this is an individual that #45 admires?

  46. @Lebowski2020. More than admiration. They're in love.

  47. Two peas in an unstable genius Pod. YIKES.

  48. "He wrote me beautiful letters and we fell in love" said Trump about a murderous dictator and BFF.

  49. The summit was a disaster for everyone, but anyone with half a brain could have known that as a forgone conclusion. Trump is a terrible negotiator who doesn’t bother to understand the other side’s motives and needs (probably because he has never considered the needs of anyone but himself). He thinks he can use his force of personality to “make a deal,” but couldn’t even get a Trump Tower in Moscow after buttering up oligarchs. I don’t have much sympathy for those with ambition to support Kim’s authoritarian dictatorship, but surely Kim knew he was dealing with a “dotard” and not a rational actor. But was the summit really a failure for Kim? He fires rockets with what seems like total impunity from the US, as Trump reads different messages from them than our intelligence services, messages that are incredibly generous to Kim.

  50. Trumps best friends ever are; Putin who poisons his enemies at home or overseas, Xi who puts all the people he doesn’t like in one gigantic concentration camp and tries to convince the world to educate them, The Saudi crown prince who hunts his enemies wherever they are and have them cut up in pieces, Kim who executes any or all of his team members who don’t succeed where he has failed, The Philippe president who has made a sport of hunting down men and women of the LBGTQ community (and opponents), The Egyptian President who wants to eradicate all members of the Muslim brotherhood. And this list goes on and on. For heavens sake what kind of President do we have and why is he so fascinated in Presidents who kill their citizens?

  51. @Johan Debont Because he wishes he was a tough guy too. He only plays one on tv.

  52. @Johan Debont Why did you leave out one-who-cannot-be-named who has put all persons living in a strip in an open air prison. Any opposition to his actions will be criticized as you-know-what and have you socially ostracized.

  53. @Johan Debont Aren't all of these the political systems that the left created or supports?

  54. Is "sidelined" a euphemism for executed?

  55. It is naive to think anyone was banished or executed because of failed negotiations. More likely Kim Jung Un was paranoid that US intelligence had penetrated his inner circle and he decided it easiest to simply kill them all. The fact that the President or anyone in the administration knew this at any time during which Trump praised or gave Un the benefit of the doubt is revolting.

  56. We see that in the kingdom of Kim Jong-un, when love letters fail, machine guns prevail. The idea that he got rid of his negotiating team by torture, forced labor, murder, or all of the above is crazy, if it weren't completely believable. But it is also interesting that these change took place close upon the heels of Putin's summit with Kim Jong-un. I think this means KJU has figured out that Trump is a completely unreliable negotiator (and wouldn't even pay up on his $2M hospital bill for Otto Warmbier to boot!). He is now simply turning to Russia for the black market trading he needs to keep the economy afloat and the nukes in production. But is it just me, or is there a very, very suspicious pattern of Russia stepping in to be the leader every time Trump messes something up... Bashar in Syria, Maduro in Venezuela, KJU in North Korea? So, what's next? Putin in Mexico after the NAFTA II deal is blown up because of Trump's crazy tariffs? It wouldn't surprise me at all.

  57. Who was the guy who moored his motor yacht by the Statue of Liberty?

  58. So "political fortune is made or broken at the whims of" a leader. That statement could apply to Trump just as well as it does to Kim Jong-un.

  59. Pompey smiled when saying his North Korean counterpart would be someone new next time? What is wrong with him?

  60. And Mike Pompei smiles when journalists tell him that he'll have a new counterpart in any future negotiations? And this is the US? I have to pinch myself to believe this is true.

  61. I got tired of pinching myself in Nov. '16.

  62. Can we assume that Mr. Trump will one again send a jolly Secretary of State Mike Pompeo overseas this time to NK for a smiling handshaking session to clear all this up on our behalf just as he did in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince MBS after the slaughter of a Washington Post Reporter. “Go get ‘em Mike.”

  63. Should our Fake President be re-elected, Trump's name will be able to be substituted for that of the dictatorial North Korean leader in any similar, future article, with the fate of his advisors being similar to those who failed to completely satisfy the dictates of the brutal Kim. Don't think that it could not happen here.

  64. We know about the brutality of the North Koreans. What is more interesting for us is that our president admires this kind of arbitrary power. He says so. Killing doesn't bother him, or his son-in-law, witness their unconcern about Khashoggi's ghastly murder by their Saudi buddy. Reelect Trump, and we will move further in this direction, perhaps irreversibly.

  65. @Victor "perhaps irreversibly"?

  66. @Carol Victor is on the right . I’m young enough to remember the song in the 60’s - Eve of Destruction. “And You tell me over and over and over again my friend, that you don’t believe we’re on the eve of Destruction”

  67. I fail to see how the Trump Administration could continue to hold talks with envoys from North Korea, knowing that they face certain death (by the whim of Kim) if the talks go badly. Imagine the mindset of a North Korean negotiator when Trump suddenly stands up and leaves the room. Oops- - I'm dead when I get home! How about this? Trump and some of his own people talk to Kim face to face? No other likely victims in the room. That eliminates the barbarity of killing North Korean people who sincerely have tried to negotiate with the United States.

  68. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un pretty much deserve each other. Meanwhile Greta Thunberg has a genuine nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. We need more of her and less of them.

  69. How does one put disarmament ahead of peace treaties? The Korean War is only in a state of truce.

  70. @Steve Bolger Ending the Korean War is not in the best strategic interests of either the U.S. or DPRK. It allows us to maintain a footprint in South Korea to contain China, while North Korea continues to use it for domestic control.

  71. Trump’s confidence in "personal diplomacy", going directly to top level meetings, did not work out very well.

  72. No one with an even basic understanding of diplomacy expected much to come of Trump's lame efforts.

  73. @Roger Werner it looks like the Korean leader also believed in more results. Hoping nobody died due to these disappointments.

  74. I wonder how much top secret and/or clandestine information Pompeo was able to glean while he headed the CIA? I certainly hope there was a cadre of CIA career professionals who didn't give him the entire enchilada. I have a funny feeling everything he saw or heard went straight to Trump and Jared.

  75. If the stories about the executions prove to be true, the interesting question will be how this affects Trump's future attitudes toward Little Rocket Man. Based on past experience, it could simply increase Trump's fondness for the North Korean dictator, who once again will have demonstrated his enviable absolute power and total control. After all, this latest caper hardly qualifies as a surprise -- execution of underlings is a well-established Kim Jong-un response to failure and humiliation. It is even possible that Kim will now overtake Vladimir Putin and rise to the top of Trump's list of authoritarian rulers worthy of emulation. Does this mean that removal of US sanctions against North Korea has suddenly become more likely?

  76. When sources say that White House staff is anxious about another Trump tantrum, I wonder if Trump makes implicit threats. Bottom line, the risk in being in the orbit of Trump comes with consequences. That is a fact. And, now that Trump has shown with Mexico that he does not keep his word, the level of risk is that much greater. To some extent we are all in the orbit of Trump. Stolen elections have consequences.

  77. Take out the "disposal" of his negotiating team, which the article makes clear isn't proven, and substitute "changed" his negotiating team and two things can be said. He replaced his team as they gave him bad advice in thinking the US would give sanctions relief in exchange for a basically meaningless give back, and that Kim Jong-un is upset as he understands that he needs relief and thinks he needs a new team to do it. Even if he "disposed" of these people, his showing his hand that he needs relief isn't a bad thing....

  78. "Analysts theorized that Kim Yong-chol and other North Korean negotiators mistakenly believed that Mr. Trump, eager for something he could tout as a diplomatic achievement, would settle for sanctions relief in return for a partial dismantlement of the North’s nuclear weapons facilities. But Mr. Trump demanded a full rollback of the North’s program, and the talks collapsed." The Russkies made the same mistake about Ronald Reagan.

  79. The talks collapsed within minutes because Michael Cohen was testifying before Congress. Trump was completely distracted and only wanted to watch Fox News. This is why talks collapsed within minutes.

  80. Keep in mind folks, Trump admires this animal. The United States of America has lost its way. This is not the America I grew up with as a baby boomer . And I’m terrified for 2020. Remember, this man will do anything to win including actively and purposely working with Putin not to just meddle in our election but perhaps change our voting machines . And McConnell will not even bring onto the Senate floor the House Bill which requires all states to have paper back up ballots . Why in G-d’ s name would ANYONE object to that? Why? Because Republicans want to win at all costs, even if it is down right election rigging, cheating and in the process taking down our democracy making us into an official Banana Republic.

  81. @KarenE Trump admires Kim and Putin. Red State America admires Trump. So do the Congressmen they elect. GOP Congress backs Trump and anything he does 100%. Aa so Fox News viewers. Birds of a feather.....

  82. Pompeo should not be representing the United States. It’s totally inappropriate to smile when his previous counterpart may have been murdered.

  83. "Now, he has suddenly become the latest example of how a senior North Korean official’s political fortune is made or broken at the whims of Kim Jong-un." Now, he has suddenly become the latest example of how a senior America official’s political fortune is made or broken at the whims of Donald Trump. Now, it has suddenly become the latest example of how an international treaty's fortune is made or broken at the whims of Donald Trump. Now, it has suddenly become the latest example of how long standing trade relations are made or broken at the whims of Donald Trump. I could go on, but when it comes to whims, Kim Jong-un is no Donald Trump.

  84. Kim trumps DiJiTs yet again. The President's staffers do not emerge with their reputations intact, but Kim's do not emerge at all - and are not intact.

  85. Kim Jong-un has had Trump's number from their first meeting in Singapore and has been at least two steps ahead of the hapless President ever since. Kim recognized at once Trump's insecurities, vanity, and most important his colossal ignorance. Whatever the authenticity of the internal ROK politics are on display here, it's a certainty that a significant component of this drama is how it plays to Trump's fragile ego.

  86. It is difficult to know what really happened here. But given North Korea and the USA are now dictatorships, it is hard to believe low level diplomats do anything more than what they are ordered. Perhaps they are used as scapegoats for their leaders failures.

  87. Here is a thought question---If Trump had the same power as Kim---absolutely no institutional or lawful constraints--does anyone want to hazard a guess how say a Michael Cohen, or a Muller, or any of departing cabinet members would fare? Knowing Trump, each "departure" would be televised, reality TV at its best.

  88. Kim tells the next negotiator: Do not give away our ability to produce nuclear weapons *and* Make sure you get all those sanctions lifted.

  89. I hope the same thing happens to John Bolton.

  90. Trump is probably really impressed with Kim Jung Un.

  91. I suggest it is highly unlikely that these men have been executed.

  92. @Don Okay, based on what? A sixth sense, ESP? Fox News?

  93. @Don Based on what? Kim already had his half-brother assassinated, and some high placed uncles as well.

  94. Is this any different than casting aside Rex Tillerson, or any of the other dictatorial policies pursued by the current US regime?

  95. Supreme Leader Kim is between a rock and hard place, or is it CIC Trump? China and Russia have welcomed back Kim, and the rest of NK trading partners have figured Trump just to many conflicts to dwell on their resumption of contact with NK, just speculation!

  96. I truly believe Trump is jealous he can’t do the same to his political enemies.

  97. @Bmnew For sure.

  98. Without a doubt you are correct

  99. " have largely disappeared from the North’s state-run news media since the Hanoi summit ended abruptly without a deal." I believe the term of art used in diplomatic negotiations is "agreement." Only a Stable Genius like Donald Trump would use the word "deal" in this context. Don't be like Trump.

  100. I'll add my voice to the other comments regarding Mike Pompeo smiling when asked about rumors that several members of the North Korean negotiation team had been executed. His reply that the likelihood that his North Korean counterpart would be someone else at the next scheduled negotiations : does Pompeo have any value for human life? The answer is obviously "No". Smiling and shaking hands with murderers is de ri-gueur for him.

  101. @mikeo26 Pompeo? Does any GOP Congressman disapprove in any way? Any?

  102. @gratis Sorry, the GOPers are indisposed at the moment. Too busy licking Trump's boots.

  103. Sidelined? Did they decided to leave to take jobs in the private sector or to spend more time with their families? Or have they, in fact, been executed or imprisoned, as some reports suggest? How Trump and Pompeo can continue to make nice with Kim Jong-un and turn a blind eye to his vicious behavior is beyond me. They are shaming our country.

  104. @Julie W. Private sector??!! You're kidding right?! Yes, he left for a cushy job in Peking...Not.

  105. @Kenneth It's called sarcasm, Kenneth.

  106. Regardless whether Kim Ung's team was removed, put in prison camps or executed, if Trump had the same power, there is not doubt in my mind all three options would be on the table for him depending on what Fox News said, who ever upset him the day before and how it would play out with his base. This man has no moral compass.

  107. I wish all the best to Mr. Kim and his co-workers and hope that the S Korean newspaper is wrong about their fate. As a slight digression, you don't negotiate with North Korea directly, you negotiate with China. 90% of N Korea's trade is with China, making them a colony of the latter. If China does not like any deal between N Korea and US, they will make a couple of tweeks and - presto - N Korea is back at the negotiating table. China - more than just a supplier of t-shirts to Walmart.

  108. This brand of absolute hereditary power is alive and well in the White House, with POTUS already surrounded by fawning family and refusing checks and balances from even legal subpoenas. The fact is, Trump admires these butchering autocrats who are accountable to nobody and frequently teach people a lesson in the harshest terms. Once this presidential ego ride finishes, some poor soul has to establish some ethical world ground rules once again, where decent norms of established adult behaviour are drawn up and espoused to the civilised world. Right now, civilisation is on the brink: diplomatically, ethically, morally, racially, climatically, democratically. The West itches for reflective, calm, composed adult leadership and an end to this horrific lauding of tyrants in the narcissicist revolving prism of Trumpland.

  109. If the US Constitution was not there or didn't clearly define the three branches, Trump himself would aspire to become a Putin, a Xi and others of that type. I still can't shake off the way his face lighted up when he saw Putin arrive for G20 photo session - like a lost child seeing his Daddy at last.

  110. Whatever has happened to Kim Yong-chol and his team I lay at the feet of Donald Trump. Trump, who claims to be the best negotiator, seems incapable of making a deal of any kind. He continues to threaten and bully allies and "enemies" alike. I see no results from his supposed efforts. What a horror that Trump could be responsible for someone's death or interment in a death camp.

  111. Need more proof of his, and others, demise than just a sketchy report by someone who just thinks they are kaput...

  112. No matter what Mr. Kim has done to his diplomats, Mr. Trump is unlikely to fall out of love with the ruthless dictator any time soon.

  113. Donald Trump's senior staff must be sighing with relief that the constitution prevents Trump from becoming a true dictator.

  114. Kim Jong Un takes Trump's "You're Fired" line to a whole new and much deadlier level. So it's no wonder why Trump openly admires Kim so much. Both of them enjoy firing people who work for them in their own special trademarked way.

  115. “Kim Jong-un is the only one that counts; all others in the North Korean hierarchy are secondary and expendable.” Once again Kim Jung-un has banished and possibly murdered a senior member of his government. His love partner Donald Trump would have simply had someone fire the individual. Similar result but both techniques are questionable since the leader is usually responsible for the hiring of the party they eventually dispose of. Really who is the guilty party?

  116. Stopped clock time for Trump, I'm glad he walked away. I too mistakenly expected him to come away with some deal, any deal. I had to take full blame for my miscalculation, I have no one to sideline or execute.

  117. This revelation won't shake Trump's love for a ruthless murdering dictator. He probably admires him more today. Easy to predict, remembering Trump's repeated defense of MBS after he ordered the murder of Khashoggi.

  118. This is a great example of how well Trump has negotiated. Kim went over to Hanoi, spending days in a train, expecting to secure a deal with Trump. Trump showed up and cancelled the meeting when he didn't get what he wanted and jetted back to the States, leaving Kim to plod his way back to N.Korea. Kim was totally embarrassed. He's supposed to be a god in his country. Now, since he had already promised his people a much better economy, he'll have to make nuclear concessions. Let him stew for a bit. Trump has done a masterful job.

  119. Donald Trump fell in love with Kim Jong Un, Trump really is a good judge of character. Donald Trump values butchers and dictators, he sell his daughter, Ivanka off to the Saudis for a profit. We now have a Republican party that is siding with the Butchers, Dictators and Killers of the World; but had a problem with President Obama going to a baseball game with Raul Castro during our opening relations with Cuba, which was long over couldn't make this up. I get a feeling if Ronald Reagan were alive today, he would be rejoining the Democratic Party and looking at Trump and these Republican's a just shun them.

  120. But he writes such beautiful letters...

  121. @Rick Trump: "We fell in love!"

  122. As long as Trump is still in love with him than all is right in the world. Trump better hope Kim doesn't fall out of love with him. Maybe he could move to Russia, Putin might take him in.

  123. Trump would do the same if he could.

  124. @JoAnne And the Senate Majority would support him with no defections.

  125. "Kim Jong-un is the only one that counts; all others in the North Korean hierarchy are secondary and expendable.” The statement appears just as valid if you substitute 'Donald Trump' for 'Kim Jong-un'. And considerably more concerning.

  126. Trump may be getting ideas from Kim as to how to more effectively cover up his crimes. Kim Yong-chol will be telling no tales. Remarkably similar to drug cartel methods.

  127. And this is why no former US President has given North Korea the privilege of meeting the highest power in the world. The current US President is the first to accept North Korea's invitation and it has been, as expected, disastrous. This is a murderous, ruthless killing regime. Trump has little care or respect for foreign policy.

  128. "But they all agree on one thing: Kim Yong-chol and his negotiating team, which had driven Kim Jong-un’s diplomatic outreach toward Washington, have been sidelined, as the North Korean leader sought a scapegoat to blame for his disastrous second summit meeting with Mr. Trump, held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February." Looking for a scapegoat. That sounds familiar.

  129. Also; On May 5, Mr. Pompeo was asked on ABC’s “This Week” about rumors that several members of the North Korean negotiating team had been executed. Mr. Pompeo said he had no information to add, then added with a smile, “It does appear that the next time we have serious conversations that my counterpart will be someone else, but we don’t know that for sure.’’ WHAT?????

  130. So Mr. Trump admires Kim Jong-un. Maybe he likes his methods. I wonder if Mike Pompeo should be worried?

  131. Michael Cohen was testifying to Congress at the same time Trump was meeting Kim Jong Un in Vietnam. Trump was only interested in watching Cohen testify on TV, so he left the summit abruptly and immediately boarded air force one where he could watch Fox News. This is our fantastic negotiator… Art of the deal… Please !!

  132. I remember trump from 1991 and believe me it was not pretty. he's intollerable.. ..

  133. Well there's a negotiating tactic for you. "If you don't give us what we want, we will execute this nice diplomat! You wouldn't want that to happen, would you?"

  134. Trump could learn a lesson from his friend Kim and dispose the team who has advised him on the tariff strategies to labor camps to cut stones to build his wall or to the reinforce Mexican border patrol. Will set an example for any Steve Bannon wannabes planning to make him lose face with self destructive negotiation tactics.

  135. I'm sure our stable genius of a President wishes he could have rid himself of Jeff Sessions and Rex Tillerson in similar fashion.

  136. "Now, he has suddenly become the latest example of how a senior North Korean official’s political fortune is made or broken at the whims of Kim Jong-un." The operative word being "whims"- Hmmm - who does this remind you of?

  137. What a great idea. Trump admires and respects deadly autocrats like Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin and Mohammed bin Salman. The failure to reach a nuclear weapons deal with North Korea can't be Donald Trump's ' fault '. Right? Donald Trump should have Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrested, imprisoned and executed. John Bolton should be arrested and imprisoned in solitary confinement for the rest of his unnatural life. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump should be put under house arrest and forbidden from entering the White House again until they have been reeducated. No collusion? MAGA?

  138. This could be Kim winning an internal power struggle or precluding one. The Collapsed Summit in Hanoi createdsome peril for Kim, presumably. But pompeo’s Reaction was absurd in the extreme? What a buffoon!. You know what country absolutely knows how to build nukes? Japan. They are not going to let Trump’s buffoonery imperil them much longer.

  139. Management by objective or else....

  140. In all likelihood, Trump’s showboating got some North Koreans executed. How does he sleep at night?

  141. @EW “In all likelihood, Trump’s showboating got some North Koreans executed. How does he sleep at night?” In all honesty, I don’t think he cares. At all. He recently pardoned a soldier who murdered Iraqi prisoners. It’s fairly obvious he doesn’t see non-Americans as humans. Or Americans of the wrong skin color, for that matter, given that his insistence that the Central Park Five should be executed even after they were proven innocent. So, I don’t think it troubles him.

  142. @EW. Trump sleeps the sleep of the unjust.

  143. Yes. Trump literally prefers a "murderous dictator" to men who honorably served their country. If imagine what kind of person you are if Trump likes you. Look at who he likes and then look in the mirror.

  144. He defamed our hero John McCain and defends our enemies. What more do we need to charge him with TREASON.

  145. @Marie Not only Trump. His supporters, both the voters and in Congress.

  146. What's love got to do with it?

  147. Didn't Trump say that Kim loves his country and his people? How does murdering his staff fir in with that? Trump made the negotiating team look weak and this insulted Kim but Trump won't take any responsibility for that and may even say that he doesn't believe that Kim hurt anybody.

  148. Love it...its Trumps fault that a murderous dictator whose newspapers regularly print propaganda declaring nuclear destruction of major US cities and who puts tens of thousands of his own citizens in concentration camps decides to murder his own negotiation team. Seems to me like Trump leaving the negotiating table was the only thing he could do. These people enable and follow a crazed despot with absolute power, while Trump has gotten basically none of his agenda accomplished because of the system of American checks and balances. To say they are comparable or two peas in a pod is a false equivalence and laughable of it wasnt so dangerous. Kim was embarrassed at home by the failure of the negotiations, which weakened his hold on power. That accomplishes more than Obama, Bush, and Clinton ever did. Three presidents kicked this can down the road, and while its unfortunate that Trump is responsible for confronting NK, I'm glad at least he isnt kicking the can down the red even further.

  149. @Jacqueline3 I actually don't see anyone blaming Trump. Indeed, the most astounding thing is that Trump insisted on complete disarmament relative to nuclear weapons from NK. Sure, some point out Trump's crush with the little fat man with a funny haircut, but, I suspect all agree that NK needs to denuclearize. The story from the start is that Trump never had any reason to believe Kim, and definitely no reason to say that he loved him. Kim is not going to give up his nukes and that is the only thing the US will accept. Therefore, he should have never even started these grandstanding negotiations because they were never close to a real agreement. Trump did it only for the show.

  150. @Jacqueline No one is is saying the execution is Trump’s fault. You have to be filtering what you read to think that. Everyone is saying the failure of the negotiations is Trump’s fault. That’s overstating the case. It’s mainly because it’s clear that Trump had no idea what he was doing, and was completely ineffective as a result. That Kim is somehow weakened because negotiations failed... yeah, no. What Trump did was not an accomplishment. You have to spin it very hard indeed to believe that. That prior presidents did nothing... again, no. North Korea is in desperate straits economically because of sanctions. Sanctions that have a long and storied history going back to the 1950’s, fluctuating with North Korea’s behavior and UN agreements. Those have weakened North Korea far, far more than a frustrated failure with Trump. North Korea is only at the table at all because of them. Have they worked? It’s by no means resolved, no. But it’s certainly made it much harder for them. So, instead of oversimplyifying what you imagine what prior presidents didn’t accomplish, maybe you should learn a little instead.

  151. @Chris "...never close to a real agreement..." Actually, they are only an inch apart. Complete denuclearization can't happen over night and the end of trade sanctions can't happen over night. Takes a while to dismantle those nukes and it takes time for trade to accelerate. That keen awareness opens up the possibility for an agreement that's workable for both of them. They don't have to trust each other. Each can move an inch or a mile towards the finality of the agreement and wait for the other party to move their inch or mile.

  152. Being aware of the professed love by Trump for Kim Jong-un and his methods, I wonder what many of Trump's now former Cabinet Secretaries think of this article.

  153. This is why Trump admires and praises Kim Jong un , because he can do this , banish to force labor camps , execute , those who displease him . Our very stable genius would love to do so too .

  154. I am very happy for Pompeo

  155. One thing is for sure. Dictators always need scapegoats!

  156. I have had some terrible bosses in my career but imagine having your fate effectively being decided by these two. I mean, on one side, you have a mentally unstable dictator with an inferiority complex who has been responsible for multiple purges of his senior leadership during his erratic reign. And on the other, you have Kim.

  157. The first thought that occurred on hearing of brutal purges in North Korea was the recollection of this analysis, which The Times has reported before: "Analysts theorized that Kim Yong-chol and other North Korean negotiators mistakenly believed that Mr. Trump, eager for something he could tout as a diplomatic achievement, would settle for sanctions relief in return for a partial dismantlement of the North’s nuclear weapons facilities. But Mr. Trump demanded a full rollback of the North’s program, and the talks collapsed." It's one thing to keep the other side off balance, and quite another to be so capricious as to create a state of chaos in which fatal blunders can easily occur. In this case, the blunder was apparently fatal to some of Kim's hapless underlings. In another case, it could be fatal to millions. In any case, it's sickening to think of. It would have been just like Donald Trump, at least as he had portrayed himself, to be so eager for even a sham of a diplomatic success that he would agree to anything. Something of the kind had already happened once, in Singapore. No wonder the North Koreans miscalculated. I hope Trump will understand now that dealing with North Korea is a deadly serious undertaking -- not a love affair interspersed with spats, and not a show to be acted out with reckless improvisation.

  158. So is Trump to blame for the executions?

  159. @Ryan Thanks for your reply. In response to your question, I'd just say please re-read my comment. You'll find my whole meaning there, with no need to add or subtract anything.

  160. We are still capable of recognizing that this smile is completely appalling of an American official right? Mr. Pompeo said he had no information to add, then added with a smile, “It does appear that the next time we have serious conversations that my counterpart will be someone else, but we don’t know that for sure.’’

  161. Sidelined? Am I reading this wrong? South Korea, Reuters, NHK and Australian news are reporting the four top negotiators have been executed for being American spies.

  162. @PCallil Yes, horrible to even consider. There was another report about him executing another high official with an antiaircraft gun over a year ago. The dysfunction of a society without basic liberties. Karl Marx lives.

  163. Look at the lead photo that accompanies this article. The people on either side of DT have either relaxed looks or smiling faces. Our president? His usual angry, disgruntled, confrontational, always-serious, always-do-battle resting unhappy face. The man has never even been seen laughing out loud. He is heartless. He is ice. He is despicable. 11/3/20. VOTE.

  164. @Guitar Man I wonder how it feels to be the most despised man in the world?

  165. @Guitar Man He’s definitely not cool.

  166. Nah. Trump does not look angry. He always looks like he is having a bad experience on the porcelain throne. Look at both his face and sitting posture.

  167. To brutal dictator Kim Jung Un, killing a human being is nothing different from killing a fly using swatter at least. HIs grand father and father had shown him how to govern his country with slaughtering people,even we still remember how his uncle, Chang Sung Tack been slaughtered. That's why Kim must be taken away from power to have not only his people to live with freedom but world too.

  168. Mr. Secretary, the next time you have serious negotiations with North Korea will be the first time, not the next time. Resign.

  169. How would Shakepeare write about this? a Tragedy for sure...nothing comedic ... God help us in the Kaliyuga (Indian yogic philosophy)

  170. I think we should sent our Glorious Leader to North Korea for the next summit. He needs to use his famous personal touch in person. Maybe he could bring the rest of his extended family along. I'd cheerfully pay for that trip.

  171. I'll bet Trump is jealous. I'll bet he wishes he could do a purge too. Those darn autocratic dictators have all the fun.

  172. @Chris The GOP base wishes the same as Trump. Trump, the GOP Congressmen, the Trump supporters need no proof or rule of law to "lock her up" or support marchers in Charlottesville.

  173. “North Korean Negotiator’s Downfall was Sealed When Trump Was Elected” There, I fixed it for you.

  174. I think it’s very possible Trump has had someone snuffed out, either as President or during his illustrious entertainment and real estate adventures. He wouldn’t think twice if he thought he could get away with it. Even on 5th Ave.

  175. @New World And his supporters would be egging him on with vicious chants.

  176. I have no doubt Trump secretly admires Kim’s power to unilaterally eliminate his political baggage and wishes he could do the same. Keep in mind Trump was name calling and character bashing Joe Biden with Kim. Care to rephrase, Donald?

  177. @BMU Sarah Sanders even came out of hiding to make point to out that Donald and Kim were in agreement about Biden.

  178. I am so tires of these wins. I wish the winning would stop.

  179. @gratis You’ll keep winning and learn to like it !

  180. Where in the 21st century could this happen? N Korea is a clear champion but that's not it; we need to be prepared.

  181. Imagine having your paper graded by the likes of Trump and Kim Jong-un. That's just not fair. The lamb had a better chance at the hands of the lion.

  182. If you were running some kind of operation where you were secretly securing information on what's going on in North Korea, would you want anybody besides a chosen few to know what you were doing?

  183. I’m not gonna google it, since I don’t want a million lights going off at the FBI with my name on it, but I really wonder, If Trump, or anyone with contacts wanted to have someone Snuffed out, how much would it cost ? 10K. ? 25K. ? 50K. ? 100K. ?

  184. @New World With Trumps new Roy Cohen in charge of Justice, it would likely be free. Makes you reconsider the idea of a nation of laws when the meaning and scope of laws can be changed so easily by the executive branch. And of course the signification of laws are open to debate in any case. But then the study of law is about casuistry, not reason, and the sophistry of the entire edifice of law and government is clear if one examines the basic superstition underlying "political science." Scary so many ceremonially certified as lawyers are deeply embedded in government when their training is so anti-intellectual and anti-rational thought.

  185. @New World It would take about $0.00. All Trump has to do is put it out on Fox News and his supporters would do the rest for free. Look at the threats on AOC and her staff when Fox just mentions her.

  186. @New World More interesting, how much to snuff out Trump's brief candle? ( Don't worry. The FBI's lights will have Shakespeare's name on them,not mine)

  187. Kim sent them to Saudi Arabia for "processing".

  188. So more deaths on the Liar’s conscience... I forgot, he has no conscience.

  189. At last I have seen through Kim Jong-Il. He is the newest absolute monarch. I naively thought that era had passed, even (slightly) in Saudi Arabia.

  190. I am surprised that there were people who thought there could be some sort of success. I certainly never expected anything serious to come of this reality show.

  191. @New World Thank you for the Reuters read. The black market is a distinct possibility. Desperate folks do desperate thinks. One would not want to play chicken with them.

  192. "make or break their political careers"?? A huge understatement! Looks more like this dictator can break their very lives.

  193. @J.Sutton: Which dictator?

  194. Neither of these men care at all about the cost of their nationalist egos. That people lose their livelihoods to bizarre tariffs, or their actual lives to firing squads are utterly esoteric questions to them. These are the core issues with the mentally ill leader. They are completely incapable of caring about the people over whom they rule.

  195. So, being shot and killed by a firing squad is referred to as being sidelined these days. At least trump's great trusted best friend Kim didn't get out his flamethrower for his trade negotiator. I guess the flamethrower is reserved for Kim's relatives.