Kim Jong-un Reportedly Executed Official Who Disagreed With His Plan to Plant Trees

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Songdowon International Children's Camp, as its remodelling project nears completion, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) April 21, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA - RTR3M2A4
Photo: KCNA / Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly ordered the execution of vice-premier Choe Yong-gon by firing squad earlier this year, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which could not independently confirm the report, released a statement saying that Choe had not been seen publicly since December 2014. Choe reportedly expressed “discomfort” with Kim Jong-un’s “forestation policies.” Facing a massive drought, the government recently planned to plant trees to replenish the soil and stop erosion — although many of the trees chosen would take forever to grow and wouldn’t have solved the problem too quickly, according to USA Today

Last month, the Associated Press reported that Kim Jong-un has executed nearly 70 officials since 2011. The defense minister was reportedly killed with an anti-aircraft gun in front of an audience at a military school earlier this year. The leader’s uncle was executed for treason in 2013.

Kim Jong-un Reportedly Executed Vice-Premier