Kim Jong-un reportedly executed an official who was in charge of the nuclear test site.
The unidentified executive was the director of North Korea’s Bureau 131, a division of the ruling party’s Central Committee, charged with the supervision of military facilities such as the Punggye-ri underground nuclear test facility and the Sohae Satellite Launching Station.
This was Kim Jong-un’s second execution of an official in just five days. The latest official was executed over a postponement in a test missile launch, which was planned for spring but was pushed back till Sept. 3. “It seems he took the blame as the prolonged mining of the nuclear facility pushed back the test date to September when it was initially set for spring,” an unnamed source told the Japanese news paper, Asahi Shibmun.
The newspaper reported the official’s execution may have taken place because of another reason, apart from the delay. The director of Bureau 131 was also held responsible for the tunnel’s collapse that reportedly occurred in October and killed around 200 people.
According to North Korean officials, the collapse happened because of an underground tunnel construction.
The execution may be related to the tunnel collapse, which delayed the test launch of the hermit kingdom's most powerful weapon to date.
Last month, Seoul warned that one more North Korean nuclear detonation could destroy its mountain test site and activate a radiation leak.
South Korea made it clear any future nuclear test by Kim risks collapsing the location set aside for launching missiles. After the hermit nation tested its sixth and most powerful bomb explosion in September in the country’s north east, Seoul detected several earthquakes.
According to experts, the quakes suggest the area is now too unstable to conduct any further tests there. U.S. experts also issued a similar warning, stating a second nuclear test site used by North Korea in the country's North West could cave in but that it won't be abandoned.
Recently, five of Pyongyang's tests have been carried out under Mount Mantap at the Punggye-ri military base, which is located in the north west of North Korea. After being bombarded so many times, now the base is said to be suffering from “Tired Mountain Syndrome” and three small earthquakes also occurred nearby after the blasts.
The other North Korean execution report involves the "second-most powerful man in North Korea," who disappeared from public life, sparking speculation he may have been executed by death squads. General Hwang Pyong-so once held the most senior military position in the hermit state as a Vice-Marshall after the supreme leader.
In October, he was expelled from the party for "taking bribes" and since then he has not been seen anywhere.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, NorthKorea’s KCNA