Top North official said to be getting re-educated
North Korea’s point man on South Korea, who was earlier said to have been sacked for misjudgment, is said to be undergoing what sources called “severe” communist training at a chicken farm, sources here said yesterday.
Choe Sung-chol, once a vice chairman of the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, the North’s state organization handling inter-Korean affairs, was reported to have been dismissed in early 2008 for what sources called his lack of foresight on South Korea’s new conservative administration under President Lee Myung-bak.
The report came amid renewed tension between the divided Koreas following the North’s decision late last year to enforce stricter border control, which has effectively halted visits by South Korean tourists.
Since Lee was inaugurated as South Korea’s president in February last year, the relationship between Seoul and Pyongyang has hit its lowest point in over a decade.
“I heard he [Choe] is undergoing revolution training at a large chicken farm in Hwanghae Province,” a source said Sunday, asking not to be identified.
Political dissidents in North Korea are said to often undergo training on the communist revolution. This includes hard labor in harsh environments, such as mines or in labor camps.
Choe, 52, became better known to South Korean officials and the public in 2007, when he escorted then-President Roh Moo-hyun throughout his visit to Pyongyang for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
He is also known to have played a key role in arranging the summit.
Officials in Seoul have acknowledged the dismissal of Choe, but could not confirm his whereabouts or why he was sacked.
“He has been undergoing training for about a year now, so it really is hard to tell whether he will be reinstated or not,” another source said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.Yonhap