NORTH KOREA: JANG SONG THAEK PURGE CONFIRMED AMID RUMORS OF HIS EXECUTION
December 9, 2013: Amid rumors of his own execution, North Korean state media confirmed that Jang Song Thaek had been âeliminatedâ from the party and his group âpurgedâ â for reasons including corruption, factionalism, drug abuse, anti-state activities and womanizing.
The decision, the most public dismissal of a member of the Kim family and their associates in history, was made at an enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the
Workers Party of Korea, state media said.
At the meeting, which was broadcast at length on Monday (December 9) during a
special transmission on North Korean state TV, Jang Song Thaek was shown being publicly arrested by security personnel in front of thousands of members of the Korean Workerâs Party.
But in unconfirmed reports emerging Monday, Free North Korea Radio said that Jang and his aides had actually been executed on December 5, four days before the reported special meeting of the Political Bureau.
Jang had been executed for trying to get rid of Kim Jong Un âin association with Chinaâ and now all of the organizations he had been responsible for are being monitored, an unnamed source told Free North Korea Radio .
Further executions should be expected and there was also rumor that Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae could be next on the purge list, being organized by Kim Jong Un and uncle Ko Soo Il, the source added.
While the ultimate fate of the âJang groupâ was not made immediately clear from North Koreaâs own reporting of affairs, it was clear that domestic media wanted to deal aggressively with the dismissal, dedicating maximum airtime and column length to the situation throughout domestic media.
In a lengthy bulletin published on the English language service of the Korea Central News Agency, it was explained that Jang had been âeliminatedâ for charges surrounding his involvement in factionalism within the party.
Â âJang and his followers committed criminal acts baffling imagination and they did tremendous harm to our party and revolution.
âJang pretended to uphold the party and leader but was engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams and involving himself in double-dealing behind the scene,â Mondayâs KCNA bulletin explained.
The bulletin was also highly personal, taking swipes at Jangâ personal life and improper behavior.
âAffected by the capitalist way of living, Jang committed irregularities and corruption and led a dissolute and depraved life.
âBy abusing his power, he was engrossed in irregularities and corruption, had improper relations with several women and was wined and dined at back parlors of deluxe restaurants,â the bulletin reads.
Jang, it was also said, obstructed the partyâs capacity to manage important economic units, sold natural resources overseas at âcheap pricesâ, and crucially, disobeyed the orders of the Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.
Jangâs sacking as vice chairman of North Koreaâs National Defence Commission and as a department head of the ruling Korean Workersâ Party is a bold but potentially destabilizing move for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Jang married Kim Jong Unâs aunt in 1972 and was appointed as vice chairman of the National Defense Commission just months before longtime ruler Kim Jong Il died in December 2010.
Jang was said to have played a critical role in securing the transition of power from Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un. (Sources: nknews.org, 09/12/2013)