North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has exiled, imprisoned or executed suspected opponents of his diplomatic approach to the United States and South Korea, while also seizing assets of his country’s wealthy elite, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday (local time).
Citing a report from the North Korea Strategy Center, a think tank in Seoul, the U.S. daily reported that some 50 and 70 people have been purged since late last year. Sources for the report were incumbent or former government officials for North Korea.
The purge, which the North’s state media portray as an anticorruption campaign, is focused on seizing foreign currency assets worth millions of dollars that the North Korean elite illegally acquired. The Journal said that the crackdown suggests that Pyongyang is attempting to silence critics and shore up his regime’s finances affected by international sanctions.
The purge also targeted senior officials of the North Korean Guard Command, whom even his later father, Kim Jong Il, could not touch, accusing them of financial mismanagement.
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