News / Asia

S. Korea: North Korea Engaged in 'Reign of Terror'

FILE - South Korean President Park Geun-hye speaks during a Cabinet Council meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 10, 2013.FILE - South Korean President Park Geun-hye speaks during a Cabinet Council meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 10, 2013.
x
FILE - South Korean President Park Geun-hye speaks during a Cabinet Council meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 10, 2013.
FILE - South Korean President Park Geun-hye speaks during a Cabinet Council meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 10, 2013.
Daniel Schearf
South Korea has called the recently announced political purges at the top of North Korea's leadership a “reign of terror” that could further destabilize their already shaky relations.  Meanwhile, North Korean media continue to attack the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un who was very publicly removed from power.  

South Korea's President Park Geun-hye at a Tuesday Cabinet meeting said North Korea's massive purges appear aimed at consolidating leader Kim Jong Un's power.

North Korea on Monday confirmed earlier reports that Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of Kim Jong Un and assumed second in command had been abruptly removed from power over disloyal and corrupt behavior.

South Korea's spy agency broke the story last week and said two of Jang's assistants were executed in public in November. It said authorities are going after his followers.

President Park said the dismissals and executions amounted to a “reign of terror” with potentially destabilizing effects.

She says North-South Korea relations could become more unstable from now on.  At a time like this, she says, it is the duty of the state, as well as the political parties that represent the people, to firmly protect the South Korean people's security and liberal democracy.

Jang was labeled as leading a self-indulgent, “capitalist” lifestyle that included drug use, womanizing, and gambling. North Korea's state media published photographs and accounts of Jang being arrested at a Korean Workers Party meeting by uniformed officers.

The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Tuesday quoted North Korean citizens saying Jang and his supporters should be put to death. The newspaper urged unity and loyalty under Kim Jong Un vowing to never forgive traitors.

Jung Sung-jang, a researcher at Seoul's Sejong Institute, says it is unlikely that Jang’s purging will impact North Korean policy in any dramatic way. But he says it will definitely stiffen the dynamics within the country, which could prompt Pyongyang to temporarily adopt a more stringent stance.

Jang was also accused of selling off North Korea's resources at a cheap price, an apparent reference to China which buys most of its exports. He was in charge of negotiating Chinese investment in special economic zones.

Some Western political analysts say Jang may have been removed because Pyongyang believed he became too close to Beijing.

But Professor of Korean history at Kookmin University Andrei Lankov argues Jang's role in the bilateral relationship was not so clear and ties with Beijing are not likely to be affected.

“He is not a China hand.  He is not a person who has close, personal connections in China, a good understanding of how China works and so on.  I would say that probably it will not change much or maybe will not change anything because Chinese will be equally eager to talk to a new face,” he said.

Beijing's state run Global Times newspaper Tuesday said China should help bring about Kim Jong-Un's visit as soon as possible for the benefit of friendly ties and long-term stability.

The 30-year-old Kim Jong Un's neglecting to visit China since coming to power two years ago, and a third nuclear test in March, were widely viewed as a snub.

The editorial noted balancing friendship with Pyongyang while opposing its nuclear weapons is a test for China's diplomacy.  Beijing is trying to revive the long-stalled six-nation talks it hosts on denuclearizing North Korea.

Japan, South Korea, and the United States are refusing to negotiate until North Korea demonstrates it is serious about giving up its nuclear programs.

VOA Seoul producer Youmi Kim contributed to this report.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: second from: South Korea
December 10, 2013 10:50 PM
'North Korea on Monday confirmed earlier reports that Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of Kim Jong Un . . ."

There is no universe where a Korean name or any Korean word has a "th" in it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs