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Kim Yong-chol and John Bolton

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By Lee Seong-hyon

Most pundits say North Korea is making the "same old" bluff. No. Its leader lost face. In a political system like North Korea, that means something extraordinary. That's why we should not brush off North Korea's threat to end negotiation with the U.S. and restart nuclear tests.

Furthermore, we should note that since the collapse of the Hanoi summit, it is North Korea's foreign ministry, not the United Front Work Department that has been back on the frontline in dealing with the United States. Having been resuscitated from marginalization in political infighting, now the foreign ministry, including its vocal vice minister Choe Son-hui, will try to prove their loyalty to Kim, by accentuating how the U.S. "insulted" Kim, the top leader, and advising him to become hardline.

The background: Trump walked away from a scheduled lunch with Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, only 30 minutes before the meal was to be served. The table was set, the meal was ready and water was poured into the glasses. The guests didn't show up.

It was not just the chef's disappointment. It is also quite certain that Kim took it as a........

© The Korea Times