Since coming to power in 2011, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the executions of 340 people, a South Korean think tank says.
In a new report released Thursday, the Institute for National Security Strategy goes into detail about the purge that has been taking place over the past five years. Hawaii Pacific University professor Seung-Kyun Ko told CNN that Kim Jong Un is "a bit extreme" when it comes to perceived threats because as the son of the late Kim Jong Il, he was "spoiled," and "the major danger is there is no one in his leadership circle to restrain him." Of the 340 people killed, 140 were senior officers in the ruling Korean Worker's Party, which runs the country's government and military.
In five years, Kim has "purged" his defense minister five times, Bruce Bennett of the RAND Corporation told CNN, while his father only appointed a new defense minister three times in 17 years, "and two of those changes were because [they] died of old age." Earlier this year, the top education official in North Korea, Kim Yong Jin, was executed by a firing squad after being accused of having a "bad attitude," and in 2013, North Korean state media reported that Kim Jong Un's uncle was executed following an attempt to overthrow the government. In May 2015, Defense Minister Hyong Yong Choi was killed with an anti-aircraft gun in front of an audience, including members of his own family.