The uncle of Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, has been executed as a ‘traitor.’
North Korean news is reporting that second in command, Jang Song Thaek has been purged for crimes that included faction-building, corruption, drug use and womanizing.
While all the details of this execution continue to come out, two things are on the minds of those on the Korean Peninsula: 1) it signals a turn in direction for the North, or 2) Kim Jong-Un is growing confident in his rule.
For Jasper Kim, the founder of the Asia-Pacific Global Research Group, North Korea remains for analysts a “Rubik’s Cube that no one can solve.”
He said North Korea is a master at carefully choreographing the way it releases news events to cloak its real intentions. Nevertheless, he said a careful reading between the lines of North Korean new agency KCNA sometimes reveals glimpses of the state of the regime.
He said that far from asserting the leadership of Kim, recent events suggest that his position has been seriously eroded by the execution of his uncle.
“My guess is that these events happened some time ago and they are only now being released,” Kim told CNN. “The fact is that we don’t know what’s going on in North Korea but what we are seeing coming through on KCNA is very concerning.
“When you look at the language used in these KCNA reports it is particularly hawkish and it’s much more reflective of the military than it is of Kim Jong Un.
“Basically we are seeing the hardline faction reassert itself. For Kim Jong Un, Jang Song Thaek was the bridge between him and his father, and now he will have very little protection.”