Recent reports have suggested that Kim Jong-un is unsatisfied with the progress being made in international negotiations with President Donald Trump — and he is taking it out on his own advisers. Kim has allegedly executed his senior nuclear envoy and four foreign ministry officials, imprisoned two lower-level officials, and sent one of his senior aides to a labor camp.
As with much reporting on North Korea, these reports, which originate from the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, are hard to verify. But all of this spells trouble for the president's ambitions to solve the turmoil on the Korean peninsula.
The problem is that Trump has spent months telling the American people that North Korean leadership is stable enough to negotiate with. If it is true that they are executing their own officials over lack of progress on the talks, that would undercut his notion.
North Korea has repeatedly made movements toward reunification or denuclearization over the past two decades, but has never followed through, pulling out over perceived slights or making demands that the United States cannot accommodate.