The South Korean government is monitoring reports that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un executed his Vice-Premier Choe Yong-gon earlier this year.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency is reporting Mr Choe was executed after he showed his discomfort against a new forestation policy, which would see an intensive 'greenification programme' launch to combat the country's drought.
This brings the total number of officials killed under Kim Jong-un's reign to 70, the BBC reports.
The last time Mr Choe was seen in public dates back to December last year, and it is believed he was executed in May this year - although South Korea's unification ministry is still monitoring the possibility he is still alive.
Mr Choe was appointed the role of Vice-Premier last year, after being promoted from his former role as North Korea's Minister for Construction and Building Material.