After a seeming lull, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly resumed his purges and execution of top officials “to make an example,” according to South Korean intelligence officials.
Korea JoongAng Daily says the officials told members of the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee on Thursday that those punished included North Korean media officials and a military officer. The details were shared in a closed session with lawmakers who later briefed local reporters.
According to the briefing, several executives of the Rodong Sinmun, an official newspaper of the Workers’ Party, were ordered to undergo “revolutionary measures” for an editorial gaffe. They were reportedly punished for not printing the celebration of a missile launch on the front page of the newspaper.
The newspaper said that revolutionary measures are are euphemism in North Korea for disciplinary actions against senior officials. The punishment can include banishment to remote areas or factories to perform hard labor. They can also be forced to undergo ideological re-education, including writing letters of self-criticism.
Representatives of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) also told lawmakers that the political commissar of an antiaircraft artillery unit was executed for corruption. The intelligence agency, however, didn’t disclose the specific timing of the punishment or the identity of the disciplined official.
Prior to this, Kim’s most recent purge was the dismissal of General Kim Won-hong as minister of state security last January. Kim reportedly refrained from authorizing severe punishments for his senior officials for months, but “recently strengthened surveillance of top officials and resumed executions and punishments to set an example,” the NIS told legislators.