It has been reported that one of Kim Jong Il’s close associates, Vice Minister of the National Security Agency Ryu Kyung may have fallen foul of a Pyongyang power struggle and been executed.
South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo, citing an inside source, claimed today, “At the beginning of January, Ryu Kyung was summoned by Kim Jong Il, but when he arrived at the official residence was arrested by the Escort Bureau guard corps and, after interrogation from within the Escort Bureau, executed in complete secrecy.”
On this, an anonymous South Korean government official is quoted as saying, “Vice Minister Ryu has not been seen since early this year. It seems he has either been purged or exiled. We are currently checking into the possibility of his execution.”
Ryu is a major figure in North Korea, someone who has received a number of medals for uncovering alleged U.S. and Japanese spying rings within North Korea as a leading member of the National Security Agency. He has long been known as a sharp-witted and trusted associate of Kim Jong Il.
However, Kim Jong Eun needs to plant his own people in positions of power, and someone as powerful as Ryu is a danger to his future rule. According to the newspaper’s source, “Kim Jong Eun will have felt a sense of crisis when, while receiving reports from the National Security Agency, he learned that Ryu Kyung’s people had control of the whole NSA system.”