North Korea is exercising a “reign of terror” under the Kim Jong-un regime, and appears to be making preparations for a military provocation, lawmakers said Friday, citing information provided by National Intelligence Service chief Nam Jae-joon.
At a press conference held following Nam’s briefing to the parliamentary Intelligence Committee, Rep. Jung Chung-rae of the main opposition Democratic Party and Rep. Cho Won-jin of the ruling Saenuri Party revealed that Pyongyang was exercising terror to consolidate Kim Jong-un’s rule.
|National Intelligence Service chief Nam Jae-joon organizes his documents before briefing the parliamentary Intelligence Committee at the National Assembly in Yeouido on Friday. (Yonhap News)|
Cho said that North Korea conducted 40 public executions this year. In comparison, 17 public executions were carried out last year.
"These executions are aimed at setting an example and quelling complaints from within," he added.
Cho also told reporters that the NIS commented on the situation regarding Pyongyang’s Jang Song-thaek, saying there is a “strong likelihood of (Jang) having been purged.”
As for Jang’s associates Ri Yong-ha and Jang Su-gil, Nam told lawmakers that their public executions have been confirmed. The reason for their being executed is likely to have been “financial” wrongdoing such as embezzling state funds, Intelligence Committee members said.
Nam also confirmed that a brother-in-law and nephew of Jang had been repatriated to the North, said Rep. Jung said at the joint press briefing.
However, Nam denied any knowledge of reports that any of Jang's closest aides had sought asylum in China, according to Jung.
Cho also said that North Korea has conducted a number of long-range rocket engine tests at the base in Dongchang-ri, and that more than 60 attack helicopters and 200 pieces of multiple launch artillery equipment have been deployed near the inter-Korean border.
By Choi He-suk and newsreports