In a sudden development that is one of the most public “purges” in North Korea since the 1950s, chilling international ‘North Korea watchers’, Kim Jong had his own uncle and former political tutor / mentor, Jang Song Thaek, arrested during a general meeting of North Korean leaders, taken away and executed by firing squad on December 12th 2013.
“Although high-ranking leaders, including members of the Kim family, have been deposed before, we haven’t seen anything this public or dramatic since Kim Jong-un’s grandfather Kim Il-sung purged his last major rivals in the late 1950s,” said Prof. Charles K. Armstrong, a North Korea expert at Columbia University and the author of “Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950-1992.”
Charges were announced by top North Korean officials in the DRNK that Thaek had been planning a military coup against the Un regime, which is doubtful at best. A long laundry list of allegations were made by the DRNK against Thaek to justify his execution to the general populace, including the bizarre allegation that Thaek often “failed to applaud with enough enthusiasm” when in the presence of North Korean leadership.
The indications from this action are that Kim Jong Un intends to assume sole dictatorial and executive authority in North Korea with an absolute iron fist. Instilling fear and terror into his remaining advisors and military leaders, some of which are blood relatives, had to also have been a motive in the sudden and especially cruel action by Un.
Thaek had been the second most powerful man in North Korea and mentored the youthful Un in his new role as dynastic heir and leader of the North Korean nation. The White House has condemned the brutal execution.
Cited: “The trial took place yesterday and the death sentence was carried out immediately, the official Korean Central News Agency reported today. Jang was arrested at a ruling party meeting last week on charges of factionalism and graft.
The blitzkrieg-style execution shows the North is determined to wipe out any potential source of dissidence,” Koh Yu Hwan, a professor of North Korean Studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said by phone. “More purges are expected.”
Jang has now been airbrushed out of all existing photos and videos, another sign of old school “Josef Stalin style” hardline purges, indicating renewed brutality and the strict over-control of all historical record keeping and official documentation of the new regime of Un.
Cited from the NYT news website: “If Kim Jong-un was sure of his control of power, he would not have needed to execute his uncle,” said Lee Byong-chul, a senior fellow at the Institute for Peace and Cooperation in Seoul. “There will be big and small bloody purges, and at a time like this, desperate extremists may lash out. Pyongyang is no longer safe.”