December 30, 2016 08:22
North Korea has executed or purged 340 people over the past five years in leader Kim Jong-un's struggle to consolidate his rule.
The Institute for National Security Strategy, a think tank run by South Korea's National Intelligence Service, said Thursday executions of officials have steadily increased since 2012, with some 140 high-ranking officials purged or executed this year alone.
Public executions of ordinary people are also becoming more common. The institute said more than 60 cases were recorded as of August this year, double the annual average since Kim came to power in late 2011.
The institute also said US$300 million was funneled into two nuclear tests and more than 20 ballistic missile launches this year.
Over the past five years, an estimated $180 million has been poured into erecting more than 450 statues of the Kim family.
But the next twelve months could prove turbulent as the institute forecasts increased domestic instability due to international sanctions and growing poverty.
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