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False N.Korean official execution report backfires on Seoul

False N.Korean official execution report backfires on Seoul

Seoul’s political motive possibly behind the false report: South Korean researcher
JH Ahn
The South Korean government was bashed by local media for releasing a false execution report on North Korean high-ranking official Ri Yong Gil, who was revealed to be alive in a recent edition of North Korean Rodong Sinmun.
Seoul’s motive behind the false release has been questioned in Seoul’s newspapers, as word of Ri’s “death” was released by Seoul only two hours before the announcement was made to close down the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) on February 10.
“The North reported Ri Yong Gil’s return to his post with his photo being displayed as well, so we should take that as the way it is. Hope you have a great day, thank you,” Minister of Unification (MoU) spokesperson Jung Joon-hee said during Wednesday briefing.On February 10, around 3 p.m., the MoU sent a PDF file entitled “North Korea executes Ri Yong Gil in early February” to local reporters via email, requesting reporters describe the source for the tip as an “(anonymous) North Korea expert,” the Hankyoreh and Kyunghyang Shinmun reported.
Soon, more than 100 articles related to Ri Yong Gil’s “execution” were published almost simultaneously by local media, spreading the news of Ri’s death based on the source they could not identify publicly at that time.
While South Koreans’ news feeds were being swarmed with headlines such as “Kim Jong Un’s reign of terror over the North” and “Purge a possible sign of North Korean instability,” at around at 5 p.m., the MoU announced the closing of the KIC, with its minister saying Seoul’s move was necessary to “lead to change in the country.”
The PDF file that the MoU sent even included some circumstantial content, such as an explanation for Ri’s death as his involvement in sectarian activities, attempt to exert his authority and cause corruption in North Korean government.
However, all of the ministry’s claims have since been revealed as false as Ri was appointed as the member of North Korea’s Central Military Commission (CMC), and was covered by state media on May 10.
A South Korean expert said that the idea that the timing of the announcement was politically motivated is hard to discount.
“The MoU, who released the news of Ri’s death is not even responsible of gathering information on North Korea, it is the National Intelligence Service‘s (NIS) job,” Jeong Kuk-jin, former researcher at the MBC Unification Broadcasting Research Center, told NK News.
“It is hard for me think away other than the possibility that such grave decision – to release the news of Ri’s execution right before the announcement of the closing of KIC – was made by the MoU itself, but by someone at a higher level of the South Korean government for his/her political motive.”
It is not the first time that Ri’s death was debunked by South Korean media, in March MBN reported that Ri was not executed but is alive and only demoted from his previous post.- NK News