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.