The top U.S. commander in the Korean Peninsula said Monday that North Korea has been stepping up executions of late, as economic sanctions imposed against the nation’s rogue regime reportedly take hold.
“We’re seeing some increase in executions, mostly against political officers who are in military units, for corruption,” Brooks said. “[The killings] are really about trying to clamp down as much as possible on something that might be deteriorating and keeping it from deteriorating too quickly.”
Fox News has more about the dynamics that could be afoot inside North Korea:
The general’s comments come after rumors swirled that Hwang Pyong-so, a vice marshal who held the most senior position in North Korea’s military, was reportedly expelled and “punished” for “impure attitude.” Hwang hasn’t been seen in public since Oct. 13. South Korea’s spy agency first reported in mid-March the top aide and his deputy, Kim Won-hong, were killed out of Kim’s circle, according to Yonhap News Agency.
Kim Won-hong was reportedly sentenced to one of North Korea’s prison camps. As for Hwang, many of Kim Jong Un’s recent actions indicate the man whom the dictator has trusted for about a decade was executed — possibly by the infamous firing squad that also killed Kim’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek.
International sanctions that were imposed on North Korea after the regime tested ballistic missiles could be impacting these decisions, as the regime reportedly faces resulting pressures.
Either way, these executions wouldn’t be shocking, considering that Kim Jong-un has killed members of his own family, as The Daily Mail noted.
In 2013, Jang Song-thaek, the leader’s uncle, was put to death for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government. The nation’s official news agency called Song-thaek “despicable human scum” and said he was “worse than a dog.”
Reports of a purported increase in executions in North Korea come as President Donald Trump shared North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho’s harrowing story of struggle and survival at the hands of the nation’s ever-brutal regime; Trump told Seong-ho’s story during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address — and the defector received a standing ovation from the audience.