December 05, 2023
Analysis

To purge, or not to purge: Why Kim Jong Un forgives some North Korean officials

Experts say leader can be lenient toward mistakes by those he trusts, but ruthless when they cross political red lines

A top North Korean official who recently found himself the target of leader Kim Jong Un’s wrath emerged unscathed from a major meeting this week, despite the fact that it appeared he could be purged.

The good fortune of DPRK premier Kim Tok Hun provided the latest evidence that Kim Jong Un, a ruler who presides over a sprawling network of political prison camps, can be magnanimous toward officials who slip up.