The disgraced uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un - Jang Song-thaek - has been executed, the country’s state media reports. This comes after the second most powerful man in North Korea was dismissed for committing "criminal acts."
Official KCNA news agency said on Friday that Jang Song-thaek was
guilty of “attempting to overthrow the state.” His death
sentence by a military tribunal on December 12 was carried out
immediately, it 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 crime as attempting to overthrow the state," the agency said.
The government named Jang a "despicable human scum...who was worse than a dog."
— KCNA Watch (@KCNAWatch) December 12, 2013
He was removed from power earlier this week, with KCNA reporting as translated by KCNA Watch that "Jang and his followers committed criminal acts baffling the imagination and they did tremendous harm to our party and revolution." Adding that “when Kim Jong Il passed away so suddenly and untimely to our sorrow, he [Jang] began working in real earnest to realize its long-cherished greed for power.”
“All the crimes committed by the accused were proved in the course of hearing and were admitted by him,” KCNA reported.
Following the news from the North, South Korea has held a security ministers’ meeting to discuss the situation, Yonhap news agency reported. The agency added that Seoul expresses deep concern after the execution of Jang Song-thaek.
The downfall of the leading figure in the communist state is seen as the biggest political move by young leader Kim Jong-un, who succeeded power from his late father Kim Jong-Il two years ago.
The White House has confirmed that there is no reason to doubt North Korea's report of Jang's execution.
Jang Song-thaek, who was the Vice-Chairman of the National Defense Commission, had already been stripped of all his official posts and expelled from the party. He was known as one of the main power brokers in North Korea to have mentored Kim Jong-un after Kim entered office. Analysts view the move as an assertion of independence by the young leader.
Jang was married to Kim Kyong-hui, aunt of Kim Jong-un. He continued as key policy adviser to the supreme leader until December, when he was accused of trying to overthrow the government. The government has removed his photos from official media and airbrushed Jang out of photos with the country’s leaders.
Some of the other allegations Jang faced included corruption, drug use, gambling, womanizing, and leading a "dissolute and depraved life.”
State media also described him as an abuser of power “engrossed in irregularities and corruption,” and a drug user who squandered money while undergoing medical treatment in a foreign country.