A top North Korean ruling party official and, a close aide to leader Kim Jong Un has died in a car accident, the state news agency reported on Wednesday, in the latest event to hit the close circle of deputies of the country’s leader, reported Reuters.
Kim Yang Gon, a secretary of the Workers’ Party and the head of its United Front Department, the unit that handles the North’s ties with South Korea, was Kim Jong Un’s “closest comrade, a solid revolutionary partner,” KCNA said. Kim as the top official managing ties with the South was part of a high-level delegation that held talks in August after the rival states exchanged artillery fire, raising tensions to one of its highest points in recent years.
Those talks produced an agreement that ended the standoff and for the two sides to work to hold more discussions to improve ties.
According to KCNA, Kim died on Tuesday in an automobile accident at the age of 73. It gave no details of the accident.
The North’s leader Kim Jong Un has dismissed a string of aides in top positions since he took over when his father died suddenly in 2011. In 2013, he purged and executed his uncle Jang Song Thaek, who was once considered the second most powerful man in the country for “anti-revolutionary crimes.”
In other news…
Kim Jong Un sent Choe Ryong Hae to serve a sentence in the mines of the South Pyongan province. It is thought Kim’s second in command is being punished following problems at a newly built power plant, noted Express.
The 65-year-old was the secretary of the dictators North Korea’s Workers’ Party. He has not been seen in public since early November and was notably absent from the state funeral of Ri Ul Sol from the Korean People’s Army.
Kim had published a list of high-ranking officials who would be attending the funeral with both Choe and Kim Jong-Un’s aunt missing from the list.
A source inside North Korea told South Korean newspaper CBS No Cut News that: “Secretary Choe is receiving ideological re-education northeast of Pyongyang, in a mining region in the county of Songchon in South Pyongan Province.” The source added Choe’s wife and son have left Pyongyang and a number of members of the Workers’ Party have been dismissed.