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Reportedly executed in public, Hyon Yong Chol no longer seen in new documentary

Reportedly executed in public, Hyon Yong Chol no longer seen in new documentary

Posted June. 06, 2015 07:16,   


Hyon Yong Chol, minister of the Peoples` Armed Forces who was reportedly purged, is not seen in a documentary on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s activities in the military field that has been newly released. Since Hyon continued to appear in documentaries even after Seoul’s National Intelligence Service announced his exit, some raised doubt about the allegation that he was purged. As such, watchers say that Pyongyang may now be making Hyon’s purge official.

The North’s Korean Central Television aired on Thursday a documentary promoting Kim Jong Un’s activities in the military field in April and May. After presenting footages on Kim’s tour to a Navy unit in early April, the documentary played footages in which the North Korean leader take commemorative photos with attendees at the North Korean military’s fifth trainers competition conducted in late April. Hyon did not join commemorative photo-taking. However, the documentary did not include videos concerning the trainers competition, which was hosted by Kim Jong Un on April 24 and 25 with Hyon also in attendance.

Jeong Seong-jang, head of the unification strategy office at the Sejong Institute in South Korea, said, “North Korea did not exclude Hyon Yong Chol from documentaries, but will gradually exclude him.” Jeong who had doubted the alleged purge of Hyon, said, “I heard that Hyon Yong Chol was executed due to military bureaucracy, and Pyongyang ordered that the news be only informed to officials above sangjwa (rank between lieutenant colonel and colonel). The report that he was executed seems to be accurate.”

Experts on North Korea paid attention to Pak Yong Sik, vice chief of the organization division at the North Korean military’s general politburo who was promoted to lieutenant general in April, as Pak was seen wearing insignia for general and saluting to Kim Jong Un in the new documentary. In light of this, some raised the possibility that Park has been appointed as Hyon’s replacement.

“While broadcasting on the trainers competition that was attended by Hyon Yong Chol, the documentary did not air the trainers competition itself, rather than editing out the segments featuring Hyon,” a source in Seoul’s Unification Ministry said. “For this reason, we cannot be sure whether Hyon Yong Chol was edited from the movie or not.”