In recent Events North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has launched an increasingly intrusive purge among North Korean military officials, even going so far as to reportedly have a high ranking general executed with a mortar round. The measures have acted to secure his leadership among senior army officials. Opponents of his leadership have been charged with drinking or sex scandals and executed during the official 100 day mourning period for Kim Jong Il, who died in December 2011.
A total of 14 officials have been purged, including Kim Chol, North Korea's vice-minister of the army, who was executed among several other high ranking military officials in January. This marks a strong deviation in politics and disappointment in the international community, as there had been hope that North Korea's human rights situation could be improved by new leadership.
It does not come as a surprise, however, as Kim Jong Un had launched a missile test during negotiations regarding food aid with the US government. Negotiations were further strained by Pyongyangs claim to have developed nuclear warheads capable of reaching US American soil.
The actions of the countrys leader certainly echo those of his father, who had enacted a similar policy to quell dissent, including public executions to intimidate citizens. Kim Jong Un had previously promised to improve conditions, by easing economic and social constrictions, but it is unclear whether any improvements have reached the general population. As New York Times interviewed several North Koreans in China, they claimed not to have noticed any improvements from the promised changes. In fact, life had gotten harder, due to rising food prices due to a drought and the international sanctions. Fuel, electricity and raw materials are also reported to be in shortage, strongly affecting the already underdeveloped industry.
As corruption runs rampant among North Korean elites, who control the limited trade with China, the situation for most is dire.