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North Korea Executes Army Chief Of Staff Ri Yong Gil Over Corruption Charges

by Dalal Nasif / Feb 22, 2016 04:46 AM EST
Kim Jong Un's administration is infamous for its series of execution of officials since he took over in 2011. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

South Korean media reported the execution of North Korean army chief of staff Ri Yong Gil after he was not seen in public alongside Kim Jong Un for over a month this year. The high level officer was rumored to be condemned to death over the charge of corruption.

The news came a few days after the North launched its long-range ballistic missile rocket in space and has earned groans of disapproval from the United Nations for breaking another rule in the international law, as reported by CNN News.

"It is another way for Kim Jong Un to show he is in power. He is still young, and still learning who is on his side and who is not," commented David Kang, a professor of international relations at the University of Southern California.

Just last week, Leader Kim attended the meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Worker's Party and discussed how to deal with corruption, wrote BBC News.

It looked like the disappearing general served as an early example for officials who are "seeking privileges, misuse of authority... and bureaucratism manifested in the party" as stated by the news agency KCNA. Additionally, General Ri has also been charged for "factional conspiracy."

Meanwhile, some observers believe that Ri is just one of the many victims of Kim's unstable leadership. High-ranking officials close to him, coming as near as part of his entourage, follow a pattern of suddenly disappearing, being demoted, or being reportedly purged over criminal allegations.

Some of the people who have fallen out of Kim's favor include his uncle and mentor Jang Song Thaek, who was once considered the second most powerful figure in the country, was executed for corruption in 2013, as told by Reuters

Another execution took place in May last year where the defense chief was disposed by anti-aircraft gun at a firing range according to South Korea's spy agency.

Chief of staff Ri Yong Gil's alleged execution became more tangible when a slot normally reserved for him was replaced with another general Ri Myong Su at a recent rally in the North capital.

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