Reports: North Korea Executes 15 Top Officials This Year

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arriving at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang. South Korean intelligence officials said Wednesday that Kim's ruthless style of leadership was a factor in his regime's execution of 15 high-ranking government officials this year. EPA/RODONG SINMUN

SEOUL (DPA) – North Korea has executed 15 high-ranking government officials since the beginning of the year, South Korean intelligence officials said Wednesday.

The condemned had criticized the regime, the Yonhap News Agency and television channels reported, citing members of the National Assembly who were briefed by intelligence officials.

Among those put to death was the deputy forestry minister in January after he found fault with North Korea's forestation plans, the lawmakers were quoted as saying.

The intelligence officials told the lawmakers in a closed-door session that the public executions were evidence of the "ruthless leadership style" of Kim Jong Un, who became leader of North Korea at the end of 2011 when his father, Kim Jong Il, died.


In 2013, Kim Jong Un executed his uncle Jang Song Thaek, who had been considered the second most powerful person in North Korea. Jang was accused of treason.


North Korea has been criticized for human rights violations under all three leaders of the Kim dynasty.

Reporting by Dirk Godder

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