News / Asia

US to Step Up Talks With Regional Allies After N. Korea Execution

South Korean army soldiers stand guard at a military checkpoint near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, South Korea, Dec. 13, 2103.
South Korean army soldiers stand guard at a military checkpoint near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, South Korea, Dec. 13, 2103.
VOA News
The United States says it is stepping up talks with Asian allies following North Korea's execution of leader Kim Jong Un's once influential uncle.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Friday that "stability on the Korean peninsula is very important" to the United States and that Washington will "increase our discussions with our allies and partners in the region about the internal situation in North Korea."

The uncle, Jang Song Thaek, was former vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, headed by Kim. The young leader's uncle was also seen as Kim's mentor and closest aide.

North Korea's official media reported that he was charged with a list of unpardonable crimes and promptly executed Thursday.

Regional news reports said Friday that Jang's execution could signal instability in the communist country and Kim's fear of his uncle's influence. Some observers say that Jang's execution may signal unrest in North Korea and that Pyongyang could react with external provocations.

South Korean officials said the government is on alert for any unusual move in the North. But Seoul's Unification Ministry said there would be no immediate change of policy toward the northern neighbor.

Yonhap news agency reported Friday that representatives of the two Koreas will meet next week to discuss upgrading their joint industrial park in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.

North Korea's closest ally and aid donor China called Jang's execution North Korea's internal affair. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters Friday that Beijing will continue to advance business cooperation with Pyongyang.

Jang played a key role in cementing the leadership of the inexperienced Kim after the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in 2011, but analysts say his power and influence had begun to worry Kim.

Professor Toshimitsu Shigemura of Waseda University in Japan said Kim may continue with the purge.

"Jang-Thaek might be dead, but his followers are still around. Now they are what the regime fears the most. They have to get rid of them quickly if they want to avoid a rebellion, because they still have some influence. And now, everyone is aware that someone tried to rebel. The regime's power base is now unstable."

Harf denounced the execution as an "incredibly brutal act" and said it "underscores the horrific human rights record of the North Korean regime."

Pyongyang is under international sanctions for conducting illegal nuclear weapons tests. The United States and China have worked on getting Pyongyang to adhere to its international obligations.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid