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U.S. says N. Korea's latest execution shows regime's 'extreme brutality'

All Headlines 02:52 September 01, 2016

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) -- The United States said Wednesday that North Korea's execution of a senior cabinet official shows the "extreme brutality" of the communist regime.

According to South Korea's Unification Ministry, the North's vice premier for educational affairs, Kim Yong-jin, was executed by firing squad in July after being investigated for showing bad posture during an important parliamentary meeting in late June.

Further details on the "bad posture" were not available, but speculation has it that Kim might have dozed off or wiped his glasses when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was delivering a speech at the June 29 meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly.

"We have seen the press reports regarding the execution of North Korean officials. If confirmed, this is another example of the extreme brutality of the North Korean regime," said Katina Adams, a spokeswoman for the State Department's East Asia and Pacific Affairs Bureau.

North Korean leader Kim, who took power in late 2011, is believed to have executed more than 100 government and military officials, including his once-powerful uncle Jang Song-thaek, as he seeks to consolidate his oppressive rule.

According to the South's ministry, the North has also punished two senior officials, including Kim Yong-chol, 71, chief of the United Front Department (UFD), a key Workers' Party organ in charge of inter-Korean affairs and espionage operations.

Kim was sent to a rural farm for one month of reeducation starting in mid-July as he showed a "heavy-handed" attitude and was blamed for abusing his power, the ministry said, adding that he is believed to have returned to his jobs following the punishment.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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