North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly ordered the execution of the country’s vice premier earlier this year, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Wednesday.
Citing unnamed sources, Yonhap reported Choe Yong-gon, 63, was shot dead in May this year after expressing “discomfort” over Kim’s forestation policy.
In a statement carried by the agency, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said: “Choe has not been seen publicly for about … eight months since he was last witnessed in December last year at the ceremony to mark the third anniversary of the death of North’s former leader Kim Jong Il.
“The government is closely watching to see what might have happened to him.”
Information related to the highly secretive nation of North Korea is extremely difficult to confirm independently. Neither the Unification Ministry nor South Korea’s spy agency could confirm the report of Choe’s execution.