Kim showed off executed uncle's headless body, Trump claims
Donald Trump ‘claimed Kim Jong Un told him he’d displayed his executed uncle’s decapitated corpse in front of North Korea officials’
- Jang Song Thaek, Kim’s uncle by marriage, was brutally executed in 2013
- It came amid the leader’s purge of those he saw to be treasonous or corrupt
- Trump’s account of Jang’s death first from a senior official to detail decapitation
- Nuclear negotiations between the US and North Korea collapsed last year
- Despite this, Trump maintains that he has a good relationship with Kim Jong Un
Donald Trump has claimed that the headless body of Kim Jong Un’s executed uncle was displayed to senior North Korean officials.
The US President told the author of an upcoming book on the US president that the dictator confided that he had his uncle’s head displayed after ordering his execution in 2013.
Jang Song Thaek, the North Korean leader’s uncle by marriage and a hugely powerful figure within the regime, was purged for treason and corruption in 2013, in what was widely seen as Kim mercilessly asserting his authority.
Kim ‘tells me everything. Told me everything,’ Trump told the Washington Post investigative journalist Bob Woodward, according to his forthcoming book ‘Rage’.
‘He killed his uncle and he put the body right in the steps,’ Trump said, in an apparent reference to a building used by senior officials.
‘And the head was cut, sitting on the chest,’ he added in excerpts from the book seen by the AFP news agency.
Donald Trump (left) told author and journalist Bob Woodward that the North Korean leader ‘tells me everything’, including that Kim Jong Un (right) had his uncles decapitated head displayed to officials after ordering his execution in 2013
The North has never officially stated how Jang was executed, although multiple reports say an anti-aircraft gun was used.
Jang’s death followed the execution of his two most trusted advisers – Ri Ryong-ha and Jang Su-gil – who were also reportedly killed by anti-aircraft machine guns.
Before his execution in 2013, Jang was seen as the second most powerful person in North Korea after his nephew, but wanted to reform the country.
In 2016, the New York Times wrote that with his death went the last hopes of a more open North Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walks past his uncle Jang Song Thaek, left, during the 70th birthday of the late Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, 2012. A year later, Kim Jong Un ordered for his uncle to be executed during a purge of those he believed to be treasonous and corrupt
Trump’s account – apparently intended as a demonstration of the closeness of his relationship with Kim – is the first from any senior official to mention decapitation.
Nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have been at a standstill since the collapse of the Hanoi summit last year over sanctions relief and what the North would be willing to give up in return.
Pyongyang officials said they had offered to ‘dismantle all the nuclear production facilities in the Yongbyon area’, but analysts say the North has several other nuclear sites.
According to the book Trump demanded five sites be given up.
‘Listen, one doesn’t help and two doesn’t help and three doesn’t help and four doesn’t help. Five does help,’ he said.
Yongbyon was the North’s biggest site, Kim countered according to excerpts from the book seen by AFP. ‘It’s also your oldest,’ Trump told the author he retorted.
Kim, though, would not offer further concessions, and Trump told him: ‘You’re not ready to make a deal.’
‘I’ve got to leave,’ he added, to Kim’s shock.
President Donald Trump, left, meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the North Korean side of the border at the village of Panmunjom in Demilitarized Zone in June 2019
The collapse of the summit came despite high expectations on both sides beforehand.
But according to the book Trump continued to insist on full denuclearisation even after the pair’s surprise meeting several months later in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula.
Bob Woodward’s new book ‘Rage’ claims Trump told the reporter – famous for breaking the Watergate story and for his books on US presidents – that ‘Kim tells me everything’
‘It was an honour to cross into your country,’ Trump wrote in a letter to Kim two days after the encounter, when he became the first sitting US president to set foot in the North.
He urged Kim to strike a ‘big deal’ that ‘sheds you of your nuclear burden’.
‘Rage’, scheduled to hit the book stands next week, unveils 25 letters the pair exchanged, in which Kim repeatedly flatters Trump.
The DMZ meeting was supposed to restart the talks process but the US and South Korea held military exercises a few weeks later.
Kim subsequently wrote to Trump: ‘I am clearly offended and I do not want to hide this feeling from you. I am really, very offended.’
Negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have remained at a standstill ever since, and ties between the North and South have plummeted, but Trump insisted that he still had a good relationship with Kim.
‘He likes me. I like him. We get along,’ he said.
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