Ex­e­cu­tion may hit Sino-DPRK projects in short term: Ex­perts

Kim’s un­cle pays with his life for ‘anti-party crime’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHOU WA zhouwa@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The ex­e­cu­tion of the un­cle of Py­ongyang’s top leader may tem­po­rar­ily af­fect some co­op­er­a­tion projects with China, but eco­nomic ties be­tween the neigh­bors will re­main sta­ble in the long run, an­a­lysts say.

The Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea’s of­fi­cial news agency KCNA re­ported on Fri­day that Jang Song-thaek, un­cle of supreme leader Kim Jong-un, was ex­e­cuted on Thurs­day for be­ing a traitor.

Jang was in charge of eco­nomic af­fairs and co­op­er­a­tion with China.

“Fol­low­ing Jang’s ex­e­cu­tion, the DPRK is likely to re­view co­op­er­a­tion projects with China,” said Gao Haorong, an ex­pert on DPRK stud­ies at the Xin­hua Center for World Af­fairs Stud­ies, a think tank un­der Xin­hua News Agency.

Jang led del­e­ga­tions to China for ne­go­ti­a­tions on eco­nomic projects, in­clud­ing Hwang­gumpy­ong Is­land, a spe­cial eco­nomic zone near Dan­dong in Liaon­ing prov­ince.

Chen Qi, a pro­fes­sor in in­ter­na­tional af­fairs at Ts­inghua Univer­sity, said that af­ter Jang’s ex­e­cu­tion, China and the DPRK may need some time to re­build con­nec­tions to con­tinue co­op­er­a­tion on such projects and to fur­ther their eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion.

But Wang Jun­sheng, a re­searcher in East Asian stud­ies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, said the im­pact will be short-term and lim­ited.

“Py­ongyang needs China to sup­port its eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, and this of­fers op­por­tu­ni­ties for Chi­nese com­pa­nies, so both sides want to ad­vance ties,” Wang said.

“Both coun­tries have the will to con­sol­i­date their re­la­tions, given fre­quent high-level vis­its,” he said.

The lat­est such ex­change saw Chi­nese As­sis­tant For­eign Min­is­ter Zhang Kun­sheng meet a vis­it­ing del­e­gate from the DPRK’s For­eign Min­istry on Fri­day.

At a news brief­ing on Fri­day, Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Hong Lei said China hopes eco­nomic re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries will con­tinue to ad­vance.

Hong said it is in line with the in­ter­ests of both coun­tries to de­velop eco­nomic ties. China will fur­ther pro­mote eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion with the DPRK.

He de­scribed Jang’s ex­e­cu­tion as “an in­ter­nal af­fair” of the DPRK.

A re­port in the Repub­lic of Korea news­pa­per Cho­sun Ilbo said China and the DPRK signed an agree­ment on a spe­cial eco­nomic zone on Mon­day, the day the DPRK an­nounced Jang had been purged.

Lyu Chao, a re­searcher in Korean stud­ies at Liaon­ing Academy of So­cial Sciences, said, “If the re­port is ac­cu­rate, it shows that Bei­jingPy­ongyang ties will not be af­fected by Jang’s case too much.”

He said many eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion projects be­tween China and the DPRK have pro­ceeded well since Kim took of­fice two years ago.

The DPRK des­ig­nated 14 new spe­cial eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment zones this year, on top of the four zones al­ready in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle car­ried in Oc­to­ber on the web­site of the Rodong Sin­mun news­pa­per run by the DPRK’s rul­ing Work­ers’ Party of Korea.

In March, Kim called on re­gional gov­ern­ments to set up spe­cial zones in each city and prov­ince.

The 67-year-old Jang, who was mar­ried to Kim’s aunt, used to be vice-chair­man of the Na­tional De­fense Com­mis­sion and sec­re­tary of the Work­ers’ Party of Korea ad­min­is­tra­tion depart­ment.

But he was stripped of all posts and ti­tles on Sun­day for “anti-party and coun­terrevo­lu­tion­ary crime”.

The KCNA said Jang was “a traitor who per­pe­trated anti- party, counter- rev­o­lu­tion­ary fac­tional acts in a bid to over­throw the lead­er­ship of our party and state and the so­cial­ist sys­tem,” and that he was a cor­rupt wom­an­izer.

The ROK’s Uni­fi­ca­tion Min­istry ex­pressed deep con­cern on Fri­day over Jang’s ex­e­cu­tion.

“The gov­ern­ment is closely mon­i­tor­ing the se­ries of in­ci­dents that are hap­pen­ing in North Korea with deep con­cern,” Uni­fi­ca­tion Min­istry spokesman Kim Eui-do said in a tele­vised state­ment.

He said the ROK will pre­pare fully for “all pos­si­bil­i­ties” in the DPRK, adding that it will consult closely with its al­lies.

US State Depart­ment deputy spokes­woman Marie Harf crit­i­cized the way the DPRK gov­ern­ment treated Jang, say­ing the United States is fol­low­ing de­vel­op­ments closely.


Jang Song-thaek, pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered the sec­ond most pow­er­ful man in the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea, ap­pears be­fore a court on Thurs­day. This pic­ture, pub­lished in the DPRK’s Rodong Sin­mun news­pa­per, was re­leased by the Repub­lic of Korea’s Yon­hap news agency on Fri­day. Jang, the un­cle of DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, was ex­e­cuted on Thurs­day for trea­son.

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