Tags: North Korea | North Korea | Bill Richardson | executions | Kim Jong Un

Bill Richardson: Executions Point to Internal Challenges for Kim Jong Un

Bill Richardson: Executions Point to Internal Challenges for Kim Jong Un
(KCNA/Reuters)

By    |   Friday, 15 May 2015 11:52 AM

A series of executions ordered by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un points at challenges being made to his regime internally, former Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson said Friday.

"The fact that the execution of the defense chief, the military's the most powerful institution in North Korea, shows that he's being challenged internally," said Richardson, also a former governor of New Mexico, on CNN's "New Day" program Friday.

There have been claims that the dictator ordered the death of defense minister Gen. Hyon Yong Chol by anti-aircraft gunfire at the end of April for falling asleep during a meeting.

While that claim has not been officially confirmed, at least 70 high-level officials and military leaders have been executed in the short time Kim has been in power, and there are reports that there have actually been 500 or more executions.

"There's credibility to the reports," said Richardson. "Whether it's 500 that's uncertain. But certainly the defense chief has disappeared. He's either been purged or executed. And I think it shows some instability in Kim Jong Un's regime that he's being challenged, that he's got serious, serious opposition especially within the military, the defense chief."

The military is North Korea's most important entity, said Richardson, as it has nuclear weapons and missiles, and "over a million men in arms," and could pose a challenge to Kim's leadership.

By purging and execution, the dictator is showing his inexperience in dealing with a crisis, Richardson said. "By creating a climate of fear I think he's undermining himself. I think he's putting himself in a situation that he's not only going to be challenged again and again, but that he's going to create some internal opposition that in the end could topple him."

The situation is dangerous, Richardson said, as North Korea has "10 nuclear weapons. They have missiles, [and] we have 28,000 American troops in the region."

Richardson said he believes the best policy when it comes to Kim Jong Un and North Korea is to wait them out, while arranging dialogue through China about the country's nuclear weapons.

"I think this is an opportunity to move forward in a very crucial part of the world, northeast Asia, which is a tinderbox," he said. "It's a tinderbox caused by the instability of this leader, who also has nuclear weapons and appears to be heading in a very dangerous direction."

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A series of executions ordered by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un points at challenges being made to his regime internally, former Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson said Friday.
North Korea, Bill Richardson, executions, Kim Jong Un
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2015-52-15
Friday, 15 May 2015 11:52 AM
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