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South Korea's Unification Ministry declined to comment and an official at the presidential Blue House in Seoul said it was inappropriate to comment on an unverified report. It says North Korea's leader ordered the executions.
South Korea said Friday that it is scrambling to prevent the spread of the highly contagious African swine fever on its pig industry after North Korea confirmed an outbreak at a farm near its border with China.
Some previous South Korean reports of North Korean purges and executions have later proved inaccurate. Although Ri was not involved in the failed Hanoi summit, he had been a close aide to Kim Yong-chol for years.
Kim Hyok Chol was North Korea's special representative for USA affairs and prepared the delegation for February's unsuccessful summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.
"The US should better bear in mind that its hostile acts will only bring about the result of adding tension to the already unstable Korean peninsula and inviting adverse current".
A Western diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak on the record, said he was "very skeptical".
North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program remains intact while the country continues to defy UN resolutions with significantly increased illegal ship-to-ship oil and coal transfers, a UN Panel of Experts wrote in an annual report in March.
Five North Korean foreign ministry officials were reportedly executed by firing squad after being charged with spying for the United States.
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The paper cited an unidentified North Korean source.
Even Kim Jong Un's sister and adviser, Kim Yo Jong, did not accompany Kim to the meeting with Putin, although she has been a fixture in high-profile summits with US, Chinese and South Korean leaders.
"We are not aware of Kim Yo Jong's track record since the Hanoi meeting".
It reported that a senior official was part of Kim's team for both of his summits with Trump was sentenced to hard labor and ideological "re-education."
He joined the special train with Kim at the summit.
He said the South Korean government believes the North raises about 2.6 million pigs in 14 government-run or co-operative farms.
In April, South Korea's parliamentary intelligence committee said Kim Yong Chol had been censured over his handling of the Hanoi summit, despite the fact he had recently been named a member of the State Affairs Commission, a supreme governing body chaired by Kim Jong Un. "There's not a magic Rubik's cube combination of benefits we can offer North Korea to get them to just hand over their nukes", he said. It has severely thinned out the ranks of the departments tasked with negotiating with the US and South Korea. "And you can thank that smart young Kim feller for the idea".
There are signs North Korean state organs didn't know how to react to Kim's failed summit.
It is the first time since the December 2013 execution of Jang Song-thaek, Kim Jong-un's uncle, that expressions hinting at purging such as "anti-party, anti-revolutionary" and "stern judgment" appeared in Rodong Sinmun, Chosun Ilbo said.