Based on the most recent news from the reclusive nation, the old saying “like father, like son” definitely seems to hold true in North Korea. According to several sources, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service confirmed to South Korean legislators earlier this month that they believe North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the executions of at least 70 government officials in his first three and half years in power.
At a event this week in Seoul, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se compared the 70 executions undertaken by current North Korea leader Kim Jong Un with those of his late father, Kim Jong Il, who was believed to have ordered the execution of 10 officials during his first years in power.
Yun also commented that the young Kim’s “reign of terror significantly affects” many North Koreans working abroad by inspiring them to defect, but he did not provide a source for his assertion.
More on Kim Jong Un’s executions
North Korea is an isolated, authoritarian nation that has been ruled with an iron fist by the Kim dynasty since the country was first founded in 1948. The leadership is extremely secretive about any and all government activities, and media outlets have warned for years that much of the information that leaks out is simply impossible to confirm.
Not surprisingly, Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, founder Kim Il Sung, was also a firm believer in purges to keep government officials in line. He executed or banished both pro-Soviet and pro-Chinese factions in Korean leadership in after the end of the fighting in the Korean War in 1953. One notable official ordered executed by Kim Il Sung was Pak Hon Yong, the former vice chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the foreign minister of the young nation, who was killed back in 1955 following (likely false) allegations of being a spy for the U.S..
The newest head of the ruling dynasty in North Korea, Kim Jong Un, has removed key members of the old guard via a number of purges since taking power after the death of his father in late 2011.
As reported by ValueWalk back in May, the Korean NIS issued a report saying that Kim Jong Un had defense chief Hyon Yong Chol publicly executed with an anti-aircraft gun for daring to complain about the young ruler and sleeping during meetings and military parades.
The NIS has reported on various occasions ove the last few years that North Korean officials have been executed, often by machine gun fire, including Kim Jong Un’s uncle Jang Song Thaek, who was killed in 2013. Keep in mind that Jang was married to Kim Jong Il’s sister, and was once thought of as the second most powerful man in North Korea.
A North Korean cabinet minister was also executed in February of this year for opposing Kim’s plans for a government building in the shape of a flower named after his grandfather.
Other reports surfaced that North Korea used a firing squad to execute four senior members of the famous Unhasu Orchestra earlier this spring after alleging they were spies.