North Korea puts leader’s uncle to death
Long considered the No. 2, Jang Song Thaek executed for attempting a coup
North Korea on Friday announced the execution of Kim Jong-un’s uncle, calling the leader’s former mentor a traitor who tried to overthrow the state.
The announcement came only days after Pyongyang announced through state media that Jang Song Thaek — long considered the country’s No. 2 power — had been removed from all his posts because of allegations of corruption, drug use, gambling, womanizing and leading a “dissolute and depraved life.”
The state news agency KCNA said a tribunal examined Jang’s crimes, including “attempting to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state.”
Jang was seen as helping Kim Jong-un consolidate power after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, two years ago. Jang was the latest and most significant in a series of personnel reshuffles that Kim has conducted in an apparent effort to bolster his power.
There has been fear in Seoul that the removal of such an important part of the North’s government — seen by outsiders as the leading supporter of Chinese-style economic reforms — could create dangerous instability or lead to a miscalculation or attack on the South.
People watch a TV news program at Seoul railway station, South Korea on Monday showing Jang Song Thaek, centre, being grabbed at a meeting of Workers Party’s Central Committee in Pyongyang the day before. North Korea announced Monday it had sacked Jang, who was long considered the country’s No. 2 power.