North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has allegedly ‘purged’ his right-hand man, sending him for ‘re-education’.
Choe Ryong Hae is a popular member of the North Korean inner-circle and son of a North Korean revolutionary hero who fought the Japanese. He has played a key role as an ambassador for the regime in China – attending a large-scale military parade in Beijing only last month.
He has now not been seen for weeks after he failed to attend the funeral of a fellow high-ranking official. It is understood that he may have defied the leader, who over the past 18 months is rumoured to have overseen the executions of many of his high-ranking military chiefs and former political allies. Only months ago he had one of his military chiefs executed with an anti-aircraft gun.
The term ‘re-education’ does not tell the whole story – prisoners are usually subjected to brutal psychological torture. In an interview for CNN Victor Cha from the Centre for Strategic and International studies, said “It’s not a country club, it is almost certainly a very gruelling process where there is both mental and physical abuse.”
South Korean intelligence officials say they have received reports that Choe Ryong Hae is ‘in exile’ at Kim II-Sung Higher Party School, but North Korea is yet to confirm.
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