Was There an Unsuccessful Coup in North Korea?
November 20, 2017
According to the briefing, Workers Party of Korea Vice Chairman Choe Ryong-hae conducted a rare inspection of the General Political Bureau, which provides personnel management of other military bodies, including the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces. Choe, who previously led the General Political Bureau, singled out its chairman and vice chairman, Hwang Pyong-so and Kim Won-hong, for punishment due to “impure behavior.”
The type of punishment wasn’t specified in the NIS report, although depending on the severity of the offense, past examples have been gruesome. While the likeliest cause for the punishment is the recent highly embarrassing defection of a North Korean guard at Panmunjom to South Korea, it is also possible the generals were suspected of planning some sort of coup against the regime.
If the latter is true, Hwang and Kim are likely to be publicly executed in a horrific manner. The crippling effect of sanctions upon the country could be giving a number of military officials a case of the jitters, and even if they weren’t involved, they may be blamed for any plot that occurs within the military’s ranks.
The NIS report also states the Hermit Kingdom is taking extraordinary steps to control public sentiment in the wake of tightening sanctions. It states:
[North Korea] has devised a system whereby party organs report people’s economic hardships on a daily basis, and it has banned any gatherings related to drinking, singing and other entertainment and is strengthening control of outside information.