North Korean general, reported executed, turns up at party congress

(CNN)A senior North Korean military leader believed executed earlier this year for "factionalism, misuse of authority and corruption" seems to be alive and still a part of the secretive nation's ruling party after all.

Gen. Ri Yong-gil turned up in official state media accounts of the recently concluded Workers' Party Congress. In a document published by Rodong Simmun, the official newspaper of the Workers' Party Central Committee, Ri is listed as an alternate member of the committee's political bureau.
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In February, a South Korean government official with knowledge of North Korean affairs told CNN that Ri had been executed. Now, that same official says incorrect information led to the conclusion that Ri had been killed.
    "North Korea officially publicized Ri's photo and recent state, so we came to believe that he was not executed," the source told CNN on Tuesday.
    At the time of his purported execution, Ri was the chief of the North Korean Army's general staff. He was appointed to the position in 2013, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported. It's unclear if he remains in that position.
    The change highlights the difficulty in obtaining information from the secretive nation, which is largely cut off from the rest of the world. Media access inside North Korea is tightly controlled.
    Executions have been widely cited as a political tool used by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to consolidate his power.
    In May of last year, Hyon Yong-chol, the country's defense minister, was publicly executed after the regime accused him of treason. He was reportedly killed with an anti-aircraft gun.
    Kim's uncle, Jang Song-thaek, was branded a "traitor for all ages," and executed in 2013.