According to reports from South Korea, North Korea has publicly executed the country's defense minister for treason.
Hyon Yong Chol was apparently killed by an anti-aircraft gun at a Pyongyang military school in front of hundreds of people. The report came from the South Korean Intelligence Agency and was delivered to members of the government in a private hearing.
The reason for Hyon's execution is that he expressed discontent with dictator Kim Jong Un, and failed to follow his orders on several occasions, according to the chairman of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee and a lawmaker who attended the briefing.
The precise timing of Hyon's execution is unclear but reports suggest he was killed "around April 30." The last mention of him in North Korean state media was on Wednesday, April 29.
South Korean lawmaker Kim Gwang-lim said that Hyon was executed without trial within two to three days of being arrested.
The spectacular fall from grace is evident by the fact Hyon led a North Korean delegation to Moscow for a seminar on global security just last month.
His quick demise shows just how difficult it is to negotiate with the hermit kingdom - those who make deals may not be around long enough to see them through.
Kim himself had been scheduled to go mark Victory Day commemorations in Russia on May 9.The face Russian officials announced that he had pulled out to attend to "domestic issues" at home correlates with the minister's execution.
While no single incident is said to have provoked Hyon's arrest and execution, although along with general neglect of duty, Hyon was seen sleeping during a meeting organized by Kim Jong Un.
"Our government views that the purge is promoting the solidification of the only monolithic leadership of Kim Jong Un by creating atmosphere of fear," said Lim Byeong-cheol, a South Korean official.
The United States confirmed earlier this week that the regime's alleged test of s submarine launched missile was in fact a lie. Pentagon intelligence shows that North Korea is in fact at least five year away from such a successful test.