North Korea Friday said it executed Kim Jong-uns uncle as a traitor for trying to seize supreme power,a stunning end for the leaders former mentor,long considered the countrys No. 2.
In a sharp reversal of the popular image of Jang Song Thaek as a kindly uncle guiding young leader Kim Jong-un as he consolidated power,the Norths official Korean Central News Agency indicated that Jang instead saw the death of Kims father,Kim Jong Il,in December 2011 as an opportunity to challenge his nephew and win power.
Just days ago,North Korea accused Jang,67,of corruption,womanizing,gambling and taking drugs,and said hed been eliminated from all his posts.
But Fridays allegations,which couldnt be independently confirmed,were linked to a claim that he tried to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state.
Pyongyangs statement called him a traitor to the nation for all ages,worse than a dog and despicable human scum who planned a military coup rhetoric often reserved in state propaganda for South Korean leaders.
State media said Jang was tried for treason by a special military tribunal and executed Thursday.
In the North Korean capital,people crowded around billboards in a subway station displaying the morning paper and news of the execution.
North Koreas main newspaper Rodong Sinmun ran a headline on its website that said: Eternal traitor firmly punished.
There are fears in Seoul that the removal of Jang and his followers two of his aides were executed last month,South Koreas National Intelligence Service said could lead to a miscalculation or even an attack on the South.
Top South Korean presidential security and government ministers held an unscheduled meeting Friday to discuss Jangs execution and its aftermath,according to the presidential Blue House. Seouls Defence Ministry said the North Korean military has not shown any unusual activities and that there is not any suspicious activity at the Norths nuclear test site and missile launch pads.
There are also questions about what the purge means for North Koreas relationship with its only major ally,China. Jang had been seen as the leading supporter of Chinese-style economic reforms and an important link between Pyongyang and Beijing.
There was no immediate word about the fate of Jangs wife,Kim Kyong Hui,the younger sister of Kim Jong Il,although some analysts believe that because she is directly related to the nations founder,Kim Il Sung,and has been reportedly ill,she may be spared Jangs fate.
The White House said if confirmed,this is another example of the extreme brutality of the North Korean regime.
The KCNA report was unusually specific in its accusations at times.
For instance,it criticized Jang for not rising and applauding his nephews appointment to a senior position because Jang thought that if Kim Jong-uns base and system for leading the army were consolidated,this would lay a stumbling block in the way of grabbing the power.