- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly ordered two senior officials killed with an anti-aircraft weapon.

Ri Yong Jin and Hwang Min, education and agricultural officials respectively, are the first high-ranking executions outside Kim’s inner circle and the military. The reports come from South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, which declined to identify its sources.

“Kim is continuing to replace the old guard of his father’s regime with loyalists,” said Robert Kelly, a political science professor at South Korea’s Pusan National University, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday. “The charges are obviously trumped up, and this is how promotion or demotion often works in totalitarian states without legitimate venues for opposition.”

Kim, like his deceased father Kim Jong-Il, has executed officials who challenge his reign without compunction. He has ordered the killing his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, military chief Ri Yong Gil and defense minister Hyon Yong Chol since taking control of the police state in 2011.

The U.S. State Department ranks North Korea as one of the worst human rights abusers in the world. Up to 120,000 people populate the regime’s political-prisoner camps, including women and children.

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