38 North Contributor Michael Madden quoted in article North Korea's point man sidelined in nuclear talks

April 26, 2019 | Reuters

North Korea turns to diplomats after Kim sidelines point man in nuclear talks

SEOUL (Reuters) - The demotion of Kim Yong Chol, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s point man for nuclear talks with the United States, signals that long-time diplomats who had been sidelined from the process will return to center-stage, diplomatic sources in Seoul and regional experts said.

The hawkish former general and spymaster was recently removed from a key party post, taking the fall for the failed Hanoi summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim Yong Chol remains a formidable force in Pyongyang but there is no word whether he has been given a new role in the ultra-secretive North Korean power structure. He did not accompany Kim Jong Un to Russia this week for a summit with President Vladimir Putin, the North Korean leader’s first international foray since his Hanoi meeting with Trump in February ended in disarray.

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