South Korean foreign minister Yun Byung-se, at a forum in Seoul, compared Kim Jong Un’s 70 executions with those of his late father, Kim Jong Il, who, he said, executed about 10 people during his first years in power.
An official from South Korea’s National Intelligence Service confirmed that the spy agency believes the younger Kim has executed about 70 officials but would not reveal how it obtained the information.
Yun also said the younger Kim’s “reign of terror affects significantly” North Koreans working overseas by inspiring them to defect to the South.
North Korea, an authoritarian nation ruled by the Kim family since 1948, is secretive about its government’s inner workings, and information, even that collected by South Korean intelligence officials, is often impossible to confirm.
Kim Jong Un has removed key members of the old guard through a series of purges since taking over after the death of Kim Jong Il.
The most spectacular to date was the 2013 execution of his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, for alleged treason.