The supreme leader of North Korea, groomed by his late father and one of the most feared men of his time, Kim Jong Un, is back in the headlines. The successor of the late dictator Kim Jong Il is said to have taken political matters into his own hands with the speculated execution of a man who is said to have once been the second most powerful men in North Korea.
Hwang Pyong-so, a former general and politician who once held the rank of Vice Marshal in the Korean People’s Army, has now been missing for months. It is widely believed that under the orders of Kim Jung Un, he was killed. The disappearance of the former confident to Kim Jung Un pairs with the recent purge of the country’s senior military figures, in hopes of reducing his late father’s army’s influence.
The relationship between the Supreme Leader and Hwang Pyong-so is believed to have gone downhill ever since the allegations of bribery arose, leading to the removal of his position from the Workers’ Party Central Committee. He was then sent to a prison camp and hasn’t been heard from since October 13th. A South Korean newspaper reports that the removal of his position in the Workers’ Party furthermore ended his political career, and even his life. Hwang Pyong-so is believed to have taken bribes in exchange for a promotion, with a due punishment ordered by Kim Jong-Un upon finding out about it.
Though his death has yet to be officially confirmed, South Korea’s intelligence agency first reported on the possibility back in November. A professor from the University of North Korean Studies reports that “This is another Kim Jong-Un play aimed at tightening his grip on, and taming, the military…reaffirming the principle that the party is always above the military”.
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