North Korea: What should we make of latest ‘execution’?
Intelligence agencies sometimes overstate threats; Pyongyang might overstate its own power; some defectors write their stories too strongly; Pyongyang’s fellow travellers see no evil.So what should we make of the reports that North Korean Defence Minister, Hyon Yong-chol, was purged and executed by anti-aircraft gunfire?
Three aspects of purging
The South Korean intelligence agency told the BBC that it believed that he had been stripped of power. On that there is a strong degree of certainty. They had information which made them believe he was no longer important.But the method of purging – banishment or execution by whatever means – was its best analysis (implying, a lower level of certainty).