North Korea’s ruthless dictator Kim Jong-un has axed his own uncle and had two of his closest aides executed, it emerged today.
The sacking and public executions for corruption are the most significant purge since Kim took power from his dad, Kim Jong-il, who died, aged 70, two years ago.
Jang Song Thaek, 67, married to Jong-un’s aunt, has not been seen since losing jobs as vice chairman of the National Defence Commission and as department head in the ruling Workers’ Party, according to reports from South Korea.
Jang helped young Kim take power in the world’s most secret state and his fall from favour is seen as a sign that the supreme leader is consolidating his position.
Analysts believe neither Jang’s sacking nor the executions could have taken place without 30-year-old Kim’s approval.
Jang, elected to the party’s Central Committee in 1992, is often seen alongside Kim at public events but has been targeted by purges in the past.
In 2004 he was understood to have undergone “re-education” as a steel mill labourer because of suspected corruption, but he made a comeback the following year.
North Korea expert Koh Yu-hwan, based in Seoul, South Korea, said: “I think the young elite had Kim get rid of Jang, meaning that he will rule without a guardian.”
The move is likely to favour Choe Ruyong Hae, political head of the state’s 1.2 million strong army.
North Korea, still technically at war with the South despite a truce in 1953, is currently involved in a protracted standoff with the West over its nuclear weapons programme.
Source : Mirror