North Korea has executed its vice premier for education and rebuked two high-ranking officials, South Korea said on Wednesday, which, if true, would mark a new series of measures by leader Kim Jong Un to discipline top aides.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said the government had confirmed the execution of the education official, Kim Yong Jin, “through various channels” but declined to provide details.
Kim Yong Chol, the influential head of the North’s United Front Department which handles inter-Korean relations, was made to undergo “revolutionary measures,” Jeong told a briefing.
Another ruling party official in the propaganda department was also reprimanded, Jeong said.
It is difficult to independently verify news about top officials in the North or the inner circle around the leader. Some previous reports of executions and purges in the reclusive state have proven inaccurate.
Vice Premier Kim Yong Jin was executed for not keeping his posture upright at a public event, a South Korean government official later told Reuters.
Kim Yong Chol was punished for his overbearing demeanor, the official added, but gave no details.