N Korea purges vice for­eign min­is­ter

The Myanmar Times - - World -

NORTH Korea has purged its vice for­eign min­is­ter as pun­ish­ment for the re­cent de­fec­tion of the nu­clear armed coun­try’s deputy am­bas­sador to Bri­tain, South Korean me­dia re­ported yes­ter­day.

The mass-cir­cu­la­tion JoongAng Ilbo, quot­ing an anony­mous source fa­mil­iar with North Korean af­fairs, said that Kung Sok-ung had been re­moved from his post and ex­pelled from Py­ongyang to a ru­ral farm­ing area with his fam­ily.

It said the purge was or­dered by supreme leader Kim Jong-un fol­low­ing the de­fec­tion of the North’s deputy am­bas­sador to Bri­tain, Thae Yongho, and his fam­ily to the South two months ago.

“Since Thae Yong-ho’s de­fec­tion in late July, there has been an over­all in­spec­tion through­out the for­eign min­istry,” the source said.

“Kung Sok-ung was held ac­count­able for the em­bassies in Europe and purged as a re­sult.”

The re­port said four other high­rank­ing diplo­mats in charge of Eu­ro­pean af­fairs were also ex­pelled from Py­ongyang.

The 72-year-old Mr Kung is a vet­eran diplo­mat who had been look­ing after ties with Rus­sia and Europe for nearly two decades.

Since tak­ing power in 2011, Mr Kim has or­dered nu­mer­ous ex­e­cu­tions and purges of high-rank­ing of­fi­cials to so­lid­ify his grip on power.

In Au­gust, South Korea’s uni­fi­ca­tion min­istry con­firmed that the North ex­e­cuted a vice premier for ed­u­ca­tion for show­ing dis­re­spect to the leader dur­ing a meet­ing.

The most no­to­ri­ous case was that of Mr Kim’s un­cle and for­mer num­ber two, Jang Song-Thaek, who was ex­e­cuted for charges in­clud­ing trea­son and cor­rup­tion in De­cem­ber 2013.

Yon­hap news agency has put the num­ber of of­fi­cials ex­e­cuted dur­ing Mr Kim’s rule at over 100. –

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