Kim Jong-un Purges Reactionary Elite

  • By Cho Yi-jun

    February 21, 2019 12:18

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is purging reactionary members of the elite who are against dialogue with South Korea and the U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

    The daily quoted a report by the North Korea Strategy Center, a defector group in Seoul, based on interviews with 14 former North Korean officials, six current officials, and others.

    It said Kim "has exiled, imprisoned or executed suspected opponents of his diplomatic outreach to the U.S. and South Korea, while also targeting his country's moneyed elite with asset seizures," the WSJ wrote.

    "The sweep, which took off late last year, seeks mainly to confiscate foreign-cash piles amassed by the North Korean establishment, and is thought to have netted the regime as much as several million dollars."

    Some of those who were purged "are senior members of powerful military units that [Kim's] father never touched, lest he alienate the most ardent domestic supporters of the family's rule," the daily said.

    The move reflects Kim's goal "of taming the hawkish military and solidifying his authority while empowering doves within his cabinet as he continues diplomacy with Seoul and Washington," it added.

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