October 18, 2016 11:32
North Korea's vice foreign minister in charge of European affairs has reappeared in public amid rumors that he was purged over the defection of the No. 2 man in the London Embassy in July.
Kung Sok-ung (72) attended a sports event for foreign diplomats in Pyongyang as an "honorary guest," the official [North] Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday.
KCNA said the event marked its fourth year, and Kung and other officials joined foreign envoys who watched a friendly soccer match.
It referred to Kung as ex-vice foreign minister, confirming speculation that he has stepped down, but since he was an honorary guest he seems to have had a soft landing.
Others report recently meeting Kung's daughter, an official translator, who would have been purged with him under the North's bizarre rules on collective guilt.
Kung appears to have resigned after the defection of Thae Yong-ho in London.
A government source here said, "I believe a significant number of North Korean Foreign Ministry officials in the European affairs department as well as high-ranking diplomats in Europe were reshuffled."
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