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Tuesday, August 30, 2016, 11:18

DPRK publicly executes two officials: ROK paper

By Reuters

DPRK publicly executes two officials: ROK paper
This recent picture released by DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 29, 2016 shows the country's leader Kim Jong-un dellivering his speech during the 9th Congress of the Kim Il-sung Socialist Youth League which held in Pyongyang on Aug 27 and 28, 2016. (KNS / KCNA / AFP)
SEOUL - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) publicly executed two officials in early August for disobeying leader Kim Jong-un, a Republic of Korea (ROK) newspaper reported on Tuesday, in what would be the latest in a series of high-level purges under the young leader's rule, if confirmed.

Kim took power in 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, and his consolidation of power has included purges and executions of top officials, ROK officials have said.

Citing an unidentified source familiar with DPRK, the JoongAng Ilbo daily said former agriculture minister Hwang Min and Ri Yong-jin, a senior official at the education ministry, had been executed.

The report could not be independently verified, and ROK's Unification Ministry, which handles DPRK-related matters, did not have immediate comment.

Some previous media reports of executions and purges in the reclusive state later proved inaccurate.

The report of the executions comes soon after Seoul said DPRK's deputy ambassador in London had defected and arrived in ROK with his family, dealing an embarrassing blow to Kim's regime.

DPRK rarely announces purges or executions, although state media confirmed execution of Kim's uncle and the man widely considered the second most powerful man in the country, Jang Song-thaek, in 2012 for factionalism and crimes damaging to the economy.

A former defence minister, Hyun Yong-chol, is also believed to have been executed last year for treason, according to DPRK's spy agency.

The JoongAng Ilbo said the two men were executed by anti-aircraft gun at a military academy in Pyongyang.

DPRK state media described Hwang, one of the officials named, as agriculture minister in 2012, and referred to him as a vice-minister of agriculture in 2014.

Hwang was killed because his policy proposals were seen as a challenge to Kim Jong-un, JoongAng Ilbo said. Ri was caught nodding off during a meeting with Kim and later investigated for corruption and showing disrespect to the leader, it added.

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