You better always say “yes” when North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un speaks, or your likely to end up dead. As a case in point, South Korean intelligence sources are reporting that North Korean Defense Minister Hyon Yong Chol has been executed. Although it has not been officially confirmed, sources in North Korea are saying that Hyon was mowed down by antiaircraft fire for disrespect to the country’s leader Kim Jong-Un including sleeping during meetings and military parades.
Details on execution of North Korean Defense Minister Hyon Yong Chol
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service reportedly briefed members of parliament, saying North Korean Defense Minister Hyon Yong Chol was killed by fire from an anti-aircraft gun at a military school in front of hundreds of people in Pyongyang.
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The NIS says its sources report that Hyon was executed because he dared to complain about Kim Jong-Un, and did not follow Kim’s orders on a number of occasions, according to Kim Gwang-lim, the chairman of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee who participated in the briefing.
Exactly when Hyon was killed remains uncertain. The NIS could only say the execution occurred “around April 30.” Of note, the North Korean state media mentioned Hyon on Wednesday, April 29, noting that he attended a performance of the Moranbong Band at the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang earlier that week.
Kim Gwang-lim went on to say the intelligence agency said that Hyon was executed without trial probably within two to three days of his arrest. Political and military analysts point out this timetable means that Hyon’s fall from power was quick and decisive, giving him no time to organize a rebellion.
More on Hyon Yong Chol
A biography on the blog of North Korea Leadership Watch states that Hyon’s political career began in 2009 when he was elected to the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly.
He was elected to the Workers’ Party Central Committee in September 2010.
From July 2012 to May 2013, Hyon served as the Chief of the Korean People’s Army General Staff, and was then promoted to Colonel General.
In 2014, Hyon was promoted once again and became a member of the National Defense Commission, which is described as a supreme organ of the state having authority over the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces and Ministry of People’s Security.
Several media sources also confirm that Hyon was the leader of a North Korean delegation to Moscow for a seminar on global security.
Statement from North Korea expert
“This is a big deal. He was a survivor,” commented Charles Armstrong, a Professor of Korean studies at Columbia University, in reference to the news of the execution of Hyon. “He was from Kim Jong Un’s father’s regime. He made it through the transition. He was a very high profile military man.”
Armstrong continued to note: “He was someone that one would have thought would remain very high up in the regime. So this kind of a shake up, particularly if he’s been executed, is quite a remarkable turn of events.”
Recent purges of top officials in North Korea
South Korea’s NIS has reported in the past that dozens of North Korean officials have been executed, many by machine gun, including Kim Jong Un’s uncle Jang Song Thaek, who was killed in 2013 after being charged with treason.
Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Dongguk University, said in a recent interview the Associated Press that Kim seems to be using purges to keep the military old guard in check as they are the only real threat to his continued rule.
As reported by ValueWalk, Jang was married to Kim Jong Il’s sister, and at one time was considered the second most powerful man in North Korea.
Moreover, a North Korean cabinet minister was executed in February for speaking up against Kim’s plans for a government building in the shape of a flower named after his grandfather Kim Il Sung.
Reports from the NIS also suggest that North Korea used a firing squad to execute four senior members of the Unhasu Orchestra in March on espionage-related charges.