News / Asia

Seoul: Kim Jong Un Fires Uncle, Executes His Associates

FILE - Jang Song Thaek, Chief of the Central Administrative Department of the Workers' Party of Korea, exits car as he arrives at the Ziguangge building of Zhongnanhai, the central government compound, in Beijing, Aug. 17, 2012.
FILE - Jang Song Thaek, Chief of the Central Administrative Department of the Workers' Party of Korea, exits car as he arrives at the Ziguangge building of Zhongnanhai, the central government compound, in Beijing, Aug. 17, 2012.
VOA News
South Korea's spy agency believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may have fired his uncle from a top military post and publicly executed some of his associates.

Lawmakers briefed by Seoul's National Intelligence Agency said Tuesday that Jang Song Thaek was apparently removed as vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission.

The lawmakers say the agency believes two of Jang's closest aides -  Lee Yong-ha and Jang Soo-keel - were executed in mid-November and that he has not been seen since.

Aidan Foster-Carter, an honorary senior fellow at the University of Leeds in England and a long-time Korea watcher, says the demotion of Jang, while not confirmed, is very plausible.

"We use to get their activities reported almost daily, but there has been nothing on Jang for almost a month and only one in October. And also his wife, nothing since September," said Foster-Carter.

Jang is married to the sister of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. He has long been considered influential in the North's secretive governing hierarchy.

Park Hyung-joong, a researcher at South Korea's Korea Institute for National Unification,says in VOA's Korean service interview, that if he was removed, it was probably done by the military, which was very unhappy with Jang's economic initiatives.

"I think Jang took charge of North Korean economic policy since 2012. One of the policy changes he pushed for was taking away the military’s right to international trade. That was aggressively pursued late last year and led to purging of many high-level military officials. That seems to have backfired on him," said Hyung-joong.

North Korea has not commented on the report . If confirmed, it would be one of the top shuffles of North Korean leadership since Kim Jong Un took over.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid