December 12, 2013 5:16 pm -

jang-song-thaekBreaking on the Korean peninsula: more signs of a huge shakeup within the most isolated regime on the planet. USA Today reports:

The powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been executed as a “traitor for all ages,” the official news agency reported.

Jang Song Thaek faced a special military tribunal Thursday and was convicted of “anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts” in a bid to overthrow the the communist country’s leadership, KCNA reported Friday in Pyongyang. The state news agency did not say when or how Jang was killed.

North Korean media reported Monday that Jang had been purged for crimes that included faction-building, corruption, drug use and womanizing. He was considered the country’s most powerful figure after his nephew.

State TV aired humiliating photographs Monday that showed Jang considered the country’s second most powerful figure after Kim, being hauled away from a meeting by two uniformed guards.

Reuters translates part of the official North Korean News Agency press release:

“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.”

And Economic Times explains why the matter is being seen with apprehension in the region:

Some analysts see the purge as a sign of Kim Jong Un’s growing confidence, but there has also been fear in Seoul that the removal of such an important part of the North’s government – seen by outsiders as the leading supporter of Chinese-style economic reforms – could create dangerous instability or lead to a miscalculation or attack on the South.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.