News / Asia

    Cautious Reaction to North Korea Execution

    South Korean soldiers walk past a television showing reports on the execution of Jang Song Thaek, who is North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, at a railway station in Seoul on December 13, 2013.
    South Korean soldiers walk past a television showing reports on the execution of Jang Song Thaek, who is North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, at a railway station in Seoul on December 13, 2013.
    VOA News
    South Korea has held an emergency national security meeting following news that North Korea has executed the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un, who until recently was seen as one of Kim's chief advisers.

    Seoul says it is watching the events with concern and will work closely on the issue with allies and related governments.

    The North's official news agency says Jang Song Thaek was put to death Thursday after facing a special military tribunal.

    The United States said it could not immediately verify Jang's execution, but had no reason to doubt it.  White House spokesman Jay Carney said the execution was another example of the "extreme brutality" of the North Korean regime, but declined to speculate on the motivations behind it.

    "What it is indicative of, however, is the values of the regime, their low regard for human life, and what is probably the worst human rights record in the world, and that's saying something," Carney said.

    Mitchell Reiss, president of Washington College and former director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department, thinks Jang's relationship with Kim Jong Un was overrated by many outside of North Korea.

    "I think that his role as an adviser and guide to the young Kim was probably overstated from the beginning based on wishful thinking, particularly by the Chinese," Reiss said.

    China has reacted to the news by saying it is North Korea's internal affair.

    Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a former assistant secretary of defense, said the execution could force China to recalculate its relations with Pyongyang.

    "I think it is much more an internal struggle and says very little about South Korea or China," Korb said. "In many ways I think it will move China to be much more cautious in whatever aid or help they give them because they're not quite sure what this young ruler will do."

    China’s ties with North Korea have been strained since North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test earlier this year.  But Beijing remains Pyongyang's most important ally.

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

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mwendaiye from: Dar es Salaam
    December 14, 2013 5:51 AM
    What's wrong when a person is executed for committing corruption, womanizing, alcoholism and drug abuse acts! It pays to be clean and holy once a person attains office for the sake of public good. The world's wicked society sounds alarm when their fellow members break the law and get punished for it. But why do you keep silent when your fellow members steal, rob, hijack, attack, rape, snatch, grab, pilfer, murder, and so on?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora