Nearly 70 individuals in North Korea have been exiled, jailed, or executed as part of a so-called anti-corruption campaign, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The Journal, citing a report from the North Korea Strategy Center, said the individuals targeted were using their powerful positions to amass wealth illegally or were opposed to leader Kim Jong Un's diplomatic outreach with the United States and South Korea.
Kim ordered the purge to amass foreign cash as international sanctions block much of the country's trade.
"He is trying to put together, within a country, an economic plan that will actually take root," said Ken Gause, director of International Affairs Group at the Center for Naval Analyses.
"And if you have an environment that is steeped in corruption, whatever you plant in that environment will die."
North Korea has faced international sanctions from at least eight countries and several international bodies following nuclear tests conducted in 2006 and Kim is hoping President Donald Trump lifts partial sanctions when the pair sit down next week in Hanoi for their second summit.
Trump has insisted Pyongyang dismantle all nuclear weapons and facilities before his administration eases sanctions.
Kim's crackdown, which started last year, is thought to have procured the regime several million dollars, per the WSJ.
"Many of these purges are related to money," said Kim Jung-bong, a former South Korean intelligence official.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.