North Korea’s vice premier ex­e­cuted: re­port

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

North Korea’s Vice Premier Choe Yong Gon has been ex­e­cuted for voic­ing frus­tra­tion at the poli­cies of leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea’s Yon­hap news agency said Wed­nes­day, cit­ing an anony­mous source.

Choe, who took the job in June 2014, was ex­e­cuted by fir­ing squad in May af­ter voic­ing op­po­si­tion to forestry poli­cies pro­moted by Kim, Yon­hap said, cit­ing the source “with knowl­edge of the North.”

Choe was last seen in the North’s state media last De­cem­ber at the death an­niver­sary of the late leader Kim Jong Il, South Korea’s uni­fi­ca­tion min­istry said Wed­nes­day.

Seoul was “closely mon­i­tor­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of any changes in Choe’s cir­cum­stances,” said the min­istry, which is in charge of cross­bor­der af­fairs.

Choe’s death, if con­firmed, would be the sec­ond re­ported this year. De­fense Min­is­ter Hyon Yong Chol was said to have been ex­e­cuted in April by anti-air­craft fire for in­su­bor- di­na­tion and doz­ing off dur­ing for­mal mil­i­tary ral­lies.

Such a vi­o­lent method of ex­e­cu­tion has been cited in var­i­ous un­con­firmed re­ports as be­ing re­served for se­nior of­fi­cials who the lead­er­ship wished to make ex­am­ples of.

The North has not of­fi­cially con­firmed Hyon’s ex­e­cu­tion — re­ported in May by Seoul’s in­tel­li­gence agency — but an­nounced his re­place­ment, Pak Yong Sik, in July.

The South’s spy agency also claimed in May that Kim had ex­e­cuted dozens of of­fi­cials — in­clud­ing his own un­cle — since tak­ing power af­ter the death of his fa­ther in De­cem­ber 2011.

Py­ongyang in De­cem­ber 2013 made an un­usu­ally public an­nounce­ment of the shock ex­e­cu­tion of the un­cle, Jang Song Thaek, for charges in­clud­ing trea­son and cor­rup­tion.

Kim, be­lieved to be in his early 30s, has re­peat­edly reshuf­fled se­nior army of­fi­cials in a move an­a­lysts say was aimed at forc­ing them to re­main loyal to the young ruler.

The Kim dy­nasty has ruled the im­pover- ished and iso­lated North for more than six decades with an iron fist, a per­va­sive per­son­al­ity cult and al­most no tol­er­ance for dis­sent.

AFP

This file photo taken on July 12, 2005 shows the head of the North Korean del­e­ga­tion, Choe Yong Gon, then­deputy min­is­ter of con­struc­tion and build­ing ma­te­rial in­dus­tries, wav­ing to his South Korean coun­ter­parts as he leaves the air­port to re­turn to North Korea af­ter the in­ter-Korean eco­nomic talks in Seoul.

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