38 North Contributor Michael Madden quoted in article on the absence of North Korean negotiator at Russia Summit

April 25, 2019 | The Washington Post

Absence of key North Korean negotiator at Russia summit offers glimmer of hope

SEOUL — When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok on Thursday, one man was conspicuous by his absence.

Kim Yong Chol — a hard-line veteran, four-star general, former spy chief and one of Kim Jong Un’s closest aides — was nowhere to be seen.

Until now, Kim Yong Chol had been at the forefront of North Korea’s diplomatic outreach and in charge of denuclearization talks with the United States, personally delivering a letter from his leader to President Trump in January, and acting as counterpart to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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