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N. Korean leader executes about 100 officials: think tank

2015/11/25 14:41

SEOUL, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has executed around 100 party and military officials since he took office in late 2011 in a bid to tighten his grip on power, a Seoul think tank said Wednesday.

But a number of North Korean power elites are disenchanted with the leader's so-called reign of terror, according to the Institute for National Security Strategy, a think tank under South Korea's spy agency.

"Deep doubts about Kim's leadership are spreading among working-level officials. Some officials based in foreign nations are trying to seek asylum," it said.

Former defense chief Hyon Yong-chol was among those brutally executed under Kim's leadership. Seoul's intelligence agency said in May that Hyon was presumed to have been killed with an anti-aircraft gun due to his disloyalty to Kim.

A source familiar with North Korean affairs said that North Korean officials are increasingly irritated by Kim's iron-fist rule and some of them have applied for asylum in South Korea.

Some officials from the North's state security department appear to be included on the list of North Korean defectors while generals may not be on the list, the source added.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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