North Korean Executes it Army Chief
SEOUL: North Korea's Leader Kim Jong-Un has executed its Army Chief of Staff Ri Yong Gil against charges of corruption and other offences, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday.
The general was put to death around the time Mr Kim was chairing a joint meeting of the North's ruling Workers' Party and the military, sources told the Yonhap agency.
The news, which, if true, would be the latest in a series of executions, purges and disappearances under its young leader, comes amid heightened tension surrounding isolated North Korea after its Sunday launch of a long-range rocket, which came about a month after it drew international condemnation for conducting its fourth nuclear test.
The source suggested General Ri might have objected to Mr Kim's recent appointment of party leaders to key military posts.
Alternatively, members of the party leadership might have been involved a plot to get rid of him, it was suggested.
If confirmed, the general's death comes less than a year after Mr Kim ordered the execution of his then-defence minister.
General Ri Yong Gil was appointed in 2013 and was seen accompanying Kim on inspections of military exercises as well as trips to the Defense Ministry until last month, the report said.
But he did not attend last week’s meetings, and at the celebrations of the missile launch on Sunday, official media listed General Ri Myong Su among the attendees in his place.
The disappeared general may have incurred Kim’s displeasure by objecting to recent appointments of party leaders to key military posts, or he could have fallen victim to a plot among wider power circles to remove him, the source was quoted as saying.
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