Kim Jong-un Has New Foreign Ministry Interpreter

  • By Kim Myong-song, Ahn Jun-yong

    July 02, 2019 11:34

    Sok Won-hyok

    The new interpreter for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during his brief meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the border truce village of Panmunjom on Sunday was a man called Sok Won-hyok from the Foreign Ministry, according to sources.

    "Sok's English is so outstanding that even Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, who is believed to speak English most fluently in the ministry, and Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui, a former interpreter herself, value him highly," a diplomatic source in Seoul said Monday.

    Sok graduated from Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies, according to another source, and worked as an interpreter during the visits of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 2010 and eccentric ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman between 2013 and 2017. He is in his 30s.

    Sok Won-hyok (circled), a new interpreter for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, looks on as U.S. President Donald Trump introduces his daughter Ivanka to Kim at the border truce village of Panmunjom on Sunday, in this grab from [North] Korean Central Television.

    He is part of a group of Foreign Ministry officials who have come to new prominence after the collapse of February's summit with the U.S. in Hanoi led to a purge of the United Front Department, which led the advance negotiations. 

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