Kim Jong-un accused of power purge to grab cash

Kim Jong-un accused of power purge to grab cash

Kim Jong-un is once again moving to ensure he maintains a firm grip on North Korea. Some 70 members of the nation’s elite have been violently detained, and their assets seized.

Kim claims it’s an attempt to restore law and order. But US and South Korean security analysts have told the Wall Street Journal he’s attacking those he suspects of opposing his negotiations with the United States while at the same time topping-up his personal coffers.

Kim made a broadcast on state-controlled television earlier this year where he ‘declared war on corruption’.

Authorities “should intensify the struggle to eradicate both serious and trivial instances of abuse of power, bureaucratism and corruption, which would wreak havoc … and undermine the socialist system,” he said.

But he’s being accused of using it as a cover for his own political goals — namely funding his government amid tight international economic sanctions.


The allegations are contained within a report by the North Korea Strategy Center, a group of analysts formed by a North Korean defector. It says details of the crackdown were revealed by some 20 current and former members of the regime.

Kim Jong-un is believed to have purged some 400 people from his Communist Party’s ruling elite since taking power in 2011.

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But his sanctions-choked economy has been in serious decline. Stocks of international currency are almost depleted. And efforts to kickstart business and manufacturing have so far failed.

“(Kim) is trying to put together, within a country, an economic plan that will actually take root,” CNA think-tank analyst Ken Gause told The Post. “And if you have an environment that is steeped in corruption, whatever you plant in that environment will die.”


Kim Jong-un must make a “meaningful” gesture if he wants to see sanctions lifted, US President Donald Trump said ahead of a second summit.

The US President and North Korean leader are due to meet in Hanoi for a much-anticipated second summit on February 27-28 following their landmark first meeting in Singapore last year.

Those talks — the first-ever between the leaders of the US and North Korea — produced a vaguely-worded document in which Kim pledged to work towards “the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

EXPLORE MORE: Inside Kim Jong-un’s murderous dictatorship

“Chairman Kim and I have a very good relationship. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something work out,” Trump said overnight, without providing further details.

“I’d like to see ultimately denuclearisation of North Korea,” he told reporters. “I think that North Korea and Chairman Kim have some very positive things in mind and we’ll soon find out, but I’m in no rush,” he said.

But he emphasised he needed a political win.

“The sanctions are on in full. I haven’t taken sanctions off,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I’d love to be able to, but in order to do that, we have to do something that’s meaningful on the other side.”


North Korea is facing a “significant, historic turning point”, state media said ahead of the highly-anticipated second summit.

“It is time for us to tighten our shoe strings and run fast, looking for a higher goal as we face this decisive moment,” the Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in an editorial.

Trump has since reiterated his view that North Korea has “great” potential for economic development and suggested the Vietnam summit would not be the last.

Earlier this month, US President Trump tweeted that North Korea will become a “great Economic Powerhouse” under Kim.

“He may surprise some but he won’t surprise me, because I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is,” he said.

But Trump said earlier this week that while he hoped his next meeting with Kim would yield much progress, he was also in “no rush” for results.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders meanwhile said Trump spoke by phone with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the two men “reaffirmed their commitment to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearisation of” North Korea.

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