When asked about the Chosun Ilbo report, one of the sources who spoke to CNN said, “the news was wrong.”

The sources said Kim Yong Chol had seen power “almost deprived” since the Hanoi summit, despite his public appearance alongside the North Korean leader over the weekend.

The sources add Kim, who previously served as North Korea’s spy chief, was not sentenced to forced labor, but instead “kept silently in his office writing statements of self-criticism.”

Trotting him out publicly was a signal to Washington that the North Korean leader was “not breaking off negotiations over denuclearization,” despite escalating tensions in recent weeks, one source said. North Korea test-fired short-range ballistic missiles last month, worrying many of the country’s neighbors. They were the first tests of their kind since 2017.