Seoul says North Korea has fired its security chief

2017-02-03 07:26
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Seoul - North Korea fired its state security minister last month, presumably over corruption, abuse of power and torture committed by his agency, according to rival South Korea's government on Friday.

Jeong Joon Hee, spokesman for the Unification Ministry, said the sacking of Kim Won Hong, who had been seen as close to leader Kim Jong Un, might cause instability in the country's leadership by causing more fear into the ruling elite. North Korea has not said anything about Kim Wong Hong, and Jeong did not say how the South's government obtained the information.

There's a possibility that Kim Won Hong will face stronger punishment as the investigation into his actions is ongoing, said Jeong.

South Korea has a spotty record of tracking developments in North Korea as information about the secretive, authoritarian state is often impossible to confirm.

Since taking power in late 2011, Kim Jong Un has executed or purged a slew of high-level government officials in what the South Korean government has described as a "reign of terror."

It is not clear if Kim Won Hong's alleged sacking means he has been permanently removed from North Korea's leadership circle. Choe Ryong Hae, a close aide to Kim Jong Un, was believed to have been briefly banished to a rural collective farm for re-education in 2015, but he regained his political footing during a rare congress of the North's ruling Workers' Party last year.

Read more on:    south korea  |  north korea

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