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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, February 19, 2018

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Kim Jong-un executed 15 top officials this year

According to a media report

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SEOUL, South Korea - Intelligence officials of South Korea have reported that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un got 15 senior officials executed in the first four months this year, according to a media report Wednesday.

Those executed included several officials who had complained about Kim's policies, South Korea's officials Yonhap news agency said, citing legislators who attended a briefing by the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

Two vice-ministers were among the killed officials, Lawmaker Shin Kyoung Min said citing National Intelligence Service chief Lee Byoung Ho.

Lee told the lawmakers that one of the officials killed was a forestry minister who had complained about North Korea's forestation plan, according to the Yonhap news agency.

"Excuses or reasoning doesn't work for Kim Jong-un, and his style of rule is to push through everything," said Shin Kyung-min, a member of South Korea's parliamentary intelligence committee, quoting an intelligence official.

Lee spoke with legislators in a closed-door briefing.

However lawmaker Shin said that Lee didn't reveal how the intelligence agency obtained the information. The agency declined to confirm the comments.

Since taking over North Korea's dictatorial leadership after the death of his father Kim Jong Il in 2011, Kim has removed key members of the old guard through a series of purges. He purged and executed his once-powerful uncle, Jang Song Thaek, for treachery in 2013 that highlighted the brutal executions in the reclusive nation.

Jang was married to Kim Jong Il's sister and was once considered the second most powerful man in North Korea.

Four members of North Korea's Unhasu Orchestra are also believed to have been executed in March. Kim's wife, Ri Sol-ju, is believed to have been a singer in the orchestra before her marriage.

South Korean politician Lee Cheol-woo told Yonhap that the head of the orchestra had been executed, possibly for leaking family secrets.

Shin said the agency had inputs suggesting that a firing squad was used to execute the four senior members of the orchestra on charges of espionage which Lee did not detail.

The lawmaker said the intelligence chief also told them that Kim appeared likely to visit Russia next month to attend the 70th anniversary of its victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

But North Korea is yet to book a hotel in Moscow for Kim's first possible overseas trip since taking power.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has decided not to attend the May 9 event in Moscow and plans to send an envoy instead.> BNN

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