Kim Jong-un blasted officials over lapses which caused a “grave incident” related to Covid-19, North Korean state media report.
In remarks reported by state news outlet KCNA, Mr Kim accused senior officials of negligence at a specially convened meeting of party leaders.
As a result, they “caused a grave incident that has caused a great risk to people and the nation’s safety”, according to his comments in Korean.
The report then added that several members of the party had been recalled – including one member from the powerful Standing Committee – which is composed of five members, including Mr Kim himself.
However, the report did not give any further details on the incident or identify the officials.
It was a rare sign of the pandemic’s severity in North Korea, which previously insisted it had no Covid cases – a claim doubted by experts.
The country has closed its borders to keep out the virus.
But coupled with international sanctions, this has led to food shortages and a worsening economy.
Mr Kim previously admitted there was a “tense” food situation and told citizens to prepare for the “worst-ever” outcome, invoking comparisons to the country’s deadly 1990s famine.
Earlier this week, state television aired a rare interview of citizens commenting on Mr Kim’s appearance after weight loss.