N Korea 'executes' army chief | The Daily Star
09:44 PM, February 10, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 09:49 PM, February 10, 2016

N Korea 'executes' army chief

North Korea has executed its army chief of staff Ri Yong-gil, according to unconfirmed South Korean media reports.

Senior officials in North Korea have previously been absent from view for long periods only to reappear.

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However, Gen Ri would be the latest of several high-ranking officials to be purged under leader Kim Jong-un.

South Korean media reported that Gen Ri had been executed earlier this month for corruption and "factional conspiracy".

The reports of Gen Ri's execution comes days after the North launched a long-range rocket, which critics say is a test of banned missile technology.

In January the North carried out its fourth nuclear test.

Some observers say the regime's recent behaviour may be linked to Kim Jong-un wanting to shore up his position ahead of a rare congress of the ruling Workers' Party due in May.

In May 2015 South Korea's spy agency told parliament that the North's Defence Minister Hyon Yong-chol had been executed for showing disloyalty to  Kim.

It said that  Hyon was killed by anti-aircraft fire in front of an audience of hundreds. That news came weeks after the reported execution of 15 senior officials.

Also on Wednesday, South Korea announced it was suspending operations at the jointly-run Kaesong industrial park in North Korea following the North's recent rocket launch and nuclear test.

Seoul said all operations at the complex would halt, to stop the North using its investment "to fund its nuclear and missile development".

The suspension will mean North Korea will lose the income it currently gains from the site, which comes to $100m a year (£69m).

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