Kim Jong-un has reportedly killed the vice president of North Korea over a dispute involving trees.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, via the Express, have reported that Choe Yong-gon was murdered back in May because he had “expressed discomfort against the young leader’s forestation policy.”
Shortly after explaining his views on these policies, Kim Jong-un is believed to have ordered his death by firing squad. These are the only details to have emerged regarding his alleged demise.
According to South Korea’s unification ministry, via the BBC, Choe was last seen in public back in December, 2014. The aforementioned ministry have now confirmed that they are “closely monitoring the possibility of any changes in Choe’s circumstances.”
If the death of Choe Young-gon proves to be true, then this will be the latest death of a leading North Korean official ordered by Kim Jong-un. Yonhap has alleged that the North Korean dictator has instigated the deaths of 70 officials since he inherited the position from his father in 2012.
In fact, back in April, it was reported that Kim Jong-un had ordered the deaths of 15 North Korean officials in just the first four months of 2015. This included Hyon Yong-choi, the North Korean Defence Minister, as well as an official for the forestry department, who had complained about Kim Jong-un’s North Korean forestation plan. It has now been suggested that this could have been Choe Yong-gon.
Choe Yong-gon was appointed a vice-premier to Kim Jong-un back in June, 2014. He was one of seven individuals to be given this role. It’s thought that he was given this position because of his close association with South Korea; Choe Yong-gon had represented North Korea in trade talks with Seoul over the last decade.
Before being appointed as the vice president, Choe Yong-gon also worked as the deputy minister of construction and building material industries.
There have been claims over the last few months that North Korea is currently suffering its worst drought in over a hundred years. It’s even been alleged that a third of the country’s rice paddies have dried up.
Kim Jong-un even admitted as much during a speech in February, where he declared, “At present, the forests of the country can be said to have reached a crossroads — whether to perish for ever or to be restored.” He then followed this up by criticizing officials for responding to the issue, rather than preventing it in the first place.
[Image via NewsAU / HDWallpapers]