North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the execution of five senior officials from his Ministry of State Security, according to a South Korean intelligence agency.
The executions, carried out with anti-aircraft guns, were punishments for unspecified "false reports" that "enraged" the dictator.
The issue stems from the totalitarian state's refusal of any wrongdoing in the apparent assassination of Kim Jong Un's half brother, Kim Jong Nam.
The son of Song Hye-Rim, a South Korean-born actress who is believed to have been a mistress of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, was killed outside the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia earlier this month.
Jong-Nam had been an advocate for change in North Korea, especially after he was banned from the country after an attempt to visit Disney World in 2010.
South Korea labeled the death of Jong Nam "a state terrorist act."
North Korea is also rapidly evolving it's nuclear capabilities. The regime is developing ballistic missiles that can reach North America, a move that has prompted President Donald Trump to rally Asia-Pacific allies.
Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi will be in Washington, D.C. Monday and Tuesday for meetings with senior U.S. officials. He is the first senior Chinese official to visit the U.S. during the Trump administration.