North Korea's Kim ordered 15 executions this year: South's spy agency

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Report: Kim Jong Un Ordered 15 Executions This Year


(Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the execution of 15 senior officials this year as punishment for challenging his authority, South Korea's spy agency told a closed-door parliament meeting on Wednesday.

A vice minister for forestry was one of the officials executed for complaining about a state policy, a member of parliament's intelligence committee, Shin Kyung-min, quoted an unnamed National Intelligence Service official as saying.

"Excuses or reasoning doesn't work for Kim Jong Un, and his style of rule is to push through everything, and if there's any objection, he takes that as a challenge to authority and comes back with execution as a showcase," Shin said.

"In the four months this year, fifteen senior officials are said to have been executed," Shin cited the intelligence official as saying, according to his office.

In 2013, Kim purged and executed his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, once considered the second most powerful man in Pyongyang's leadership circle, for corruption and committing crimes damaging to the economy, along with a group of officials close to him.

Kim has also reshuffled close aides and senior officials repeatedly since taking office.

South Korea's spy agency also expected Kim to travel to Moscow this month to attend an event marking the end of World War Two in Europe, although there was no independent confirmation of the plan, Shin said after the spy agency briefing.

North Korea has not booked a hotel in Moscow for Kim's stay, but the country's embassy was equipped to accommodate its leader, Shin said, quoting the spy agency official.

The visit would be Kim's first overseas trip since he took power in 2011 after the death of his father.

Russia has said Kim would attend the May 9 event marking the 70th anniversary of the war's end in Europe, although officials in Seoul have cautioned that there was no official confirmation from the North.

Some analysts have questioned whether Kim, believed to be in his early 30s, would choose for his first overseas visit an event where he would share the stage with several leaders and have less control over proceedings than in a two-way summit.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has decided not to attend the function. U.S. President Barack Obama and many European leaders are staying away, but Chinese President Xi Jinping and the heads of many former Soviet republics are expected to attend.

(Reporting by Jack Kim and Ju-min Park; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Clarence Fernandez)

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North Korea's Kim ordered 15 executions this year: South's spy agency
This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 12, 2015 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the newly renovated May 9 catfish farm at an undisclosed location in North Korea. REPUBLIC KOREA OUT -- AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS THIS PICTURE WAS MADE AVAILABLE BY A THIRD PARTY. AFP CAN NOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, LOCATION, DATE AND CONTENT OF THIS IMAGE. THIS IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY AFP. ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / KCNA / KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)
This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 12, 2015 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the newly renovated May 9 catfish farm at an undisclosed location in North Korea. REPUBLIC KOREA OUT -- AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS THIS PICTURE WAS MADE AVAILABLE BY A THIRD PARTY. AFP CAN NOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, LOCATION, DATE AND CONTENT OF THIS IMAGE. THIS IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY AFP. ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / KCNA / KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)
This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 12, 2015 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the newly renovated May 9 catfish farm at an undisclosed location in North Korea. REPUBLIC KOREA OUT -- AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS THIS PICTURE WAS MADE AVAILABLE BY A THIRD PARTY. AFP CAN NOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, LOCATION, DATE AND CONTENT OF THIS IMAGE. THIS IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY AFP. ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / KCNA / KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)
FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves at a parade in Pyongyang, North Korea, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. Kim declared that his country was ready to stand up to any threat posed by the United States as he spoke at the lavish military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the North's ruling party and trumpet his third-generation leadership. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves at a parade in Pyongyang, North Korea, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared Saturday that his country was ready to stand up to any threat posed by the United States as he spoke at a lavish military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the North's ruling party and trumpet his third-generation leadership. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
In this image taken from video made available on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers an annual New Year's Day message in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim boasted Wednesday that North Korea enters the new year on a surge of strength because of the elimination of "factionalist filth" - a reference to the young leader's once powerful uncle, whose execution last month raised questions about Kim's grip on power. (AP Photo/KRT via AP Video) 
In this image taken from video made available on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers an annual New Year's Day message in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim boasted Wednesday that North Korea enters the new year on a surge of strength because of the elimination of "factionalist filth" - a reference to the young leader's once powerful uncle, whose execution last month raised questions about Kim's grip on power. (AP Photo/KRT via AP Video) TV OUT, NORTH KOREA OUT
A man watches a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. Kim, in a nationally televised New Year's Day speech, says he is open to a summit with his South Korean counterpart. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A man watches a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's New Year speech, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. Kim, in a nationally televised New Year's Day speech, says he is open to a summit with his South Korean counterpart. The letters read: " Kim Jong Un." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
People watch a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un delivering a speech, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. Kim, in a nationally televised New Year's Day speech, says he is open to a summit with his South Korean counterpart. The letters read: "Meeting." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
** HOLD FOR NORTH KOREA GALLERY ** In this July 27, 2013 file photo, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un waves to spectators and participants of a mass military parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea. If the U.S. government’s claim that North Korea was involved in the unprecedented hack attack on Sony Pictures that scuttled Seth Rogen’s latest comedy is correct, no one can say they weren’t warned. The movie, “The Interview,” pushed all of North Korea’s buttons. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
Travellers walk past a television screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's New Year speech, at a railroad station in Seoul on January 1, 2015. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said he was open to the 'highest-level' talks with South Korea as he called for an improvement in strained cross-border relations. AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
In this photo taken on April 15, 2012, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae salute during a mass military parade in Kim Il Sung Square to celebrate the centenary of the birth of his grandfather, national founder Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
KIM JONG-UN Leader of North Korea at plenary meeting of the central committee of the Worker's Party in Pyongyang in March 2013
In this Wednesday, April 9, 2014 image made from video, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un holds up parliament membership certificate during the Supreme People's Assembly in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea's newly-selected parliament met for the first time on Wednesday in Pyongyang. It was the first time that North Korea has reassembled its parliament under new leader Kim. (AP Photo/KRT via AP Video) TV OUT, NORTH KOREA OUT
In this photo taken on April 15, 2012, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, speaks with Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae during a mass military parade in Kim Il Sung Square to celebrate the centenary of the birth of his grandfather, national founder Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
In this image taken from video, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends an event to mark the second anniversary of the death of his father, former leader Kim Jong Il, in Pyongyang, North Korea Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/KRT via AP Video) TV OUT, NORTH KOREA OUT
FILE - In this July 27, 2013 file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leans over a balcony and waves to Korean War veterans cheering below at the end of a mass military parade on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. Japan and North Korea appear to be on the verge of a breakthrough on a bizarre legacy of the Cold War, a secret, government-ordered program that led to the abduction of more than a dozen and possibly several hundred Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 80s by North Korean infiltrators and spies. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
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