- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un executed an army general last month following a difference of opinion as part of his latest purge of senior government officials.

Gen. Pyon In Son, head of operations in the Korean People’s Army, was killed for disagreeing with the “Supreme Leader,” a South Korean official told reporters in Seoul Wednesday, but did not make clear what the two disagreed on, Bloomberg reported.

According to the official, the North Korean leader still mistrusts the military, and in November removed Ma Won Chun, a National Defense Commission official overseeing construction design, for alleged corruption and failure to follow orders, Bloomberg reported.

“The purge of Pyon sends a message that helps to discipline the military,” Kim Yong Hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, told Bloomberg. “The execution is a symbol that will help tighten loyalty.”

Senior officers are growing increasingly uneasy, the official said. Kim has used purges to maintain control in the country since he took control with a nuclear arms program and 1.2 million troops in 2011. He executed 50 officials last year on charges ranging from graft to watching South Korean soap operas and killed his own uncle and one-time deputy Jang Song Thaek in 2013.

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