Report: North Korea Executes Army Chief

He was found guilty of pursuing personal gains, corruption: sources
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2016 5:33 AM CST
Ri Yong Gil meets with Pakistani politician Rana Tanveer Hussain in 2014.   (Twitter)
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(Newser) – Kim Jong Un has executed another top military official, sources say. Army Gen. Ri Yong Gil, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army, was reportedly executed last week after being found guilty of pursuing personal gains and corruption. Appointed military chief in 2013, Ri was spotted in public alongside Kim at inspections of military exercises until last month, sources tell South Korea's Yonhap News. However, he wasn't present at a joint meeting of the Workers' Party and the military from Feb. 2-3, nor has he been seen at celebrations in honor of Sunday's rocket launch.

A source speculates that Ri may have disapproved of recent military appointments, per the Korea Herald. Gen. Ri Myong Su, a former minister of people's security, may have taken over his post. "This shows that Kim Jong Un is very nervous about the armed forces," the source says. But an expert tells Bloomberg there are two ways to view the purge: "One argument is that even after nearly five years in power, Kim is still weak, and is wiping out his lieutenants to try and keep a grip. The other argument is that he's strong and is in full control of the army. He can do exactly what he wants with the army and this is a typical move to wipe out the old guard." (Read more Kim Jong Un stories.)

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