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Fourth echelon

North Korea officials defecting in fear of rising executions

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SEOUL, July 2 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's politics of fear is driving state officials stationed overseas to defect, and Pyongyang in response has ordered their return.

The rise in defections is prominent among mid-ranking state officials at overseas posts, a source well versed in North Korea affairs told Yonhap on Thursday.


The recent purge of Defense Minister Hyon Yong Chol has shaken officials across all ranks, South Korea press reported, but other executions indicate purges have increased substantially since Kim fully assumed power in 2012.

Seoul's spy agency said North Korea executed three state officials in 2012, but that number jumped to 30 in 2013 and 31 in 2014. In 2015, North Korea has executed eight, bringing the total number of state official executions to over 70.



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