April 30, 2015 10:05
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has executed 15 senior officials for disobedience so far this year, the National Intelligence Service here said Wednesday.
Among the executed officials was a vice minister of forestry.
In a report to the National Assembly Intelligence Committee, NIS officers said Kim has instituted a "reign of terror" in the North.
Parts of the closed-door meeting were made public in a press briefing by Saenuri Party lawmaker Lee Cheol-woo and New Politics Alliance for Democracy lawmaker Shin Kyoung-min.
NIS agents said Kim does not tolerate excuses and wants his orders carried out to the letter. He executes officials who contradict him, regarding them as challenging his authority.
The vice forestry minister was executed after complaining about a forestation plan in January.
During the construction of a hall dedicated to scientists, Kim ordered officials to change the design of a dome roof. But the senior official in charge said changing the design would make construction difficult and extend the construction period. Kim openly executed him for disobedience, Lee said.
In March, four artists from the Unhasu Orchestra were executed for getting involved in a scandal.
In 2012, the year he came to power, Kim executed 17 officials, 10 in 2013, and 41 in 2014 He makes decisions on impulse, the NIS officers said.
"Kim tends to demote disobedient top military brass and reinstate them frequently," the lawmakers added. Kim Yong-chol, the director of the General Bureau of Reconnaissance who masterminded the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan in 2010, has been demoted and promoted four times in three years.
Meanwhile, Kim is apparently still determined to visit Moscow next month to attend the 70th anniversary of Russia's World War II victory celebrations in Moscow. The NIS expects Kim to travel to Moscow but says he could change his mind any minute.
He has not booked a hotel, but the North Korean Embassy in Moscow has a large compound with plenty of accommodation.
Meanwhile, the North Korean elite, a mere 1 percent of a population of 24 million, now consume much the way South Koreans do. They mostly use South Korean rice cookers and live a luxurious life.
North Koreans prefer South Korean goods to Chinese products but are using their own code to ask for them in the market for fear of crackdowns, calling them "what's better than Chinese products," the NIS said.
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