Report: Kim Jong Un Purged Vice Premier With Gun
Leader's 'reign of terror' shows no sign of letting up
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2015 10:00 AM CDT
Members of South Korean conservative group burn a picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a rally near the border village of Panmunjom.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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(Newser) – You'd think Kim Jong Un would've tired of executions by now, but sources tell Yonhap News that North Korea's Vice Premier Choe Yong-gon was executed by shooting in May, apparently after he "expressed discomfort" over Kim's forestation policy; his work performance was also found lacking, reports Reuters. News of the execution of an official who criticized the country's forestation plan first leaked at the end of April, though it isn't clear if that official was Choe, 63.

The BBC reports that Choe, the deputy minister of construction and building material industries, had represented North Korea in trade talks with the South. He was last spotted publicly in December, according to South Korea's unification ministry. If his execution is confirmed, it would mean he was killed around the same time as North Korea's defense chief. Last month, South Korea said Kim has killed 70 officials during his "reign of terror." (The country is also accused of maiming South Korean soldiers.)