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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More