US President Donald Trump privately told a group of supporters recently that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un killed his uncle Jang Song Thaek and displayed his head for others to witness, it was revealed on Thursday.
The president complained to the group that Kim is a tough negotiating partner, a person present during the conversation told The Washington Post.
"It's not like dealing with the president of France," Trump said at the private gathering.
It is believed that Jang was killed by firing squad after North Korean state-run media announced in 2013 he had been executed. The graphic story of displaying Jang's head is interesting because there are no public records of the totalitarian regime exhibiting the corpse, reports Daily Mail.
Jang was removed from his post as Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission, long considered the No. 2 position in North Korea, Pyongyang announced through state media.
The regime said Jang had been removed from all his posts die to allegations of corruption, drug use, gambling, womanising and leading a "dissolute and depraved life".
He was executed on grounds of treason and attempting to overthrow the state.
About a month after news of the execution, reports emerged that the killing was more brutal than initially reported.
A North Korean defector, Kang Cheol-Hwan, claims Jang was forced to watch his colleagues get blown apart by anti-aircraft machine guns, and about a year later was killed by the same method.
"They let it fire against these two people and these two people instantly disappeared and all the blood, it poured into Jang Song Thaek's face, who was forced to witness them and he fainted," Kang described.
The defector also described other brutal killings by the Kim regime. One of a high-ranking police official who was burnt alive with a flame-thrower, and a politician and his mistress were stripped naked and torn apart by a pack of dogs.
Trump and Kim participated in two bilateral summits to try and reach a disarmament agreement, and US and North Korean officials have met and negotiated several times under Trump's administration.
But after more than a year of relatively peaceful relations between the nations, North Korea fired two missiles on Thursday, a day after the regime launched a rocket artillery and apparent short-range ballistic missile into the ocean.
The two missiles were fired from a base in the north-west region toward the east on Thursday, according to South Korean defense officials. The first is believed to have flown 418km and the second 268km, and experts say there's "no doubt" they were weapons.
"We're looking at it very seriously right now. They were smaller missiles, they were short-range missiles," Trump told reporters at the White House.
"Nobody's happy about it but we're taking a good look and we'll see," Trump said. "The relationship continues ... I know they want to negotiate, they're talking about negotiating. But I don't think they're ready to negotiate."
This is the first confirmed missile test by North Korea in more than 500 days, according to the Department of Justice. The DOJ also said this is the first time ever that the US had to seize a North Korean cargo vessel for violating international sanctions.
Trump also expressed to the small gathering of supporters that he is becoming frustrated with criticism of his administration's tactics, especially in foreign policy.
The president made sure to keep National Security Advisor John Bolton away from Kim during the Hanoi summit, because he said the adviser viewed the regime so negatively that he would be no help in brokering a deal.
Reporters asked Trump about his perspective of Bolton, and specifically if he was satisfied with the aide's advice.
"I actually temper John, which is pretty amazing, isn't it? I'm the one that tempers him. I like John, I get very good advice from John," Trump said at a briefing Thursday afternoon.
"I have different sides, I mean I have John Bolton and I have other people that are a little more dovish than him," Trump continued. "Ultimately I make the decision."