Updated: 12/30/2013 16:15 | By Agence France-Presse

N. Korea purges Jang's associates: Seoul minister

North Korea is purging officials who had been close to Jang Song-Thaek, the once-powerful uncle of leader Kim Jong-Un who was executed this month, a South Korean minister said Monday.


N. Korea purges Jang's associates: Seoul minister

Televisions at the Yongsan electronic market in Seoul show the news of Jang Song-thaek 's execution, on December 13, 2013

Jang, once the North's unofficial number two and Kim's political mentor, was executed on December 12 on an array of charges including treason and corruption.

The shock purge -- staged in an unusually dramatic and public fashion in the isolated communist state -- was the biggest political upheaval since the young ruler took power after the death of his father and the former leader, Kim Jong-Il, two years ago. 

Seoul's spy chief earlier this month said two of Jang's associates had also been executed, while Pyongyang reportedly recalled some diplomats or trade officials overseas who were believed to have been close to Jang.

"We are seeing signs that those who were deeply involved with Jang are being recalled and purged," Ryoo Kihl-Jae, South Korea's unification minister in charge of cross-border affairs, told lawmakers. 

The purge however appears to be targeting a relatively small circle of officials, Ryoo said, rejecting speculation of a sweeping clear-out of party and military ranks. 

"We do not see that it (the purge) is being carried out on a large scale, though it still needs to be seen to what direction it would develop," he told members of parliament's foreign affairs committee. 

Yonhap news agency said Saturday the North's ambassador to Sweden, Pak Kwang-Chol, and his wife had been summoned back to Pyongyang.

Pak, who had taken the post in Sweden in late 2012, was seen at Beijing airport being escorted by North Korean officials before taking the flight to Pyongyang on Friday, it said, quoting a diplomatic source in China. 

Yonhap said earlier this month that Jang's nephew and the North's ambassador to Malaysia, Jang Yong-Chol, had also been recalled. 

The execution of Jang raised questions about political instability in the impoverished but nuclear-armed North. 

Jang is believed to have played a key role in cementing the leadership of Jong-Un. But the 67-year-old's growing political power and influence was increasingly resented by the young leader barely half his age, analysts say.

The Kim family has ruled the North for more than six decades through an iron fist and a pervasive personality cult. Those showing the slightest sign of dissent have been sent to prison camps or executed.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。