North Korea executes vice premier for education

North Korea executes vice premier for education

North Korea has executed its highest ranking education official.

SEOUL: North Korea has executed its vice premier for education, Kim Yong Jin, and has reprimanded two other high-ranking officials, South Korea said on Wednesday (Aug 31).

"Education minister Kim Yong-Jin was executed," Seoul's unification ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee said during a regular press briefing.

Kim was killed by a firing squad in July as "an anti-party, anti-revolutionary agitator," said an official at the ministry, who wished to remain anonymous.

Kim Yong Chol, the influential head of the North's United Front Department which handles inter-Korean relations, was made to undergo "revolutionary measures," Jeong Joon-hee added.

The South's comments follow a news report on Tuesday that said the North had executed two high-ranking officials earlier in the month for disobeying leader Kim Jong Un.

Since taking power after his father's death in late 2011, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is believed to have executed or demoted a number of senior officials in what analysts say is an attempt to tighten his grip on power.

News of the reclusive state's new purges comes after the South said North Korea's deputy ambassador in London had defected and arrived in the South with his family, dealing an embarrassing blow to Kim's regime.

North Korea rarely announces purges or executions, although state media confirmed the 2012 execution of Kim's uncle, Jang Song Thaek, widely considered the country's second most powerful man, 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 the South's spy agency.

Source: Agencies/rw/nc

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