North Korea has executed Kim Jong-un’s uncle as a “traitor for all ages” who sought to grab power, state media KCNA announced. Jang Song-thaek, previously one of the country’s most powerful men, was first stripped of all posts and expelled from the Workers party for offences including factionalism, corruption and dissolute behavior. But many had thought his marriage to Kim’s aunt—the sister of late leader Kim Jong-il—might save his life.
Kim has made sweeping changes to the hierarchy in North Korea, changing key military personnel repeatedly as well as removing civilian members. But Jang’s execution is unprecedented because family members are normally dealt with more leniently and quietly. Jang was seen as a mentor figure or even regent for the young leader.
KCNA added: “The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crimes as attempting to overthrow the state.” He was also criticized for trying to project himself “as a special being on a par” with the leader and for only “half-heartedly clapping” when Kim Jong-un became vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission before his father’s death.
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