Tuesday, December 3, 2013

North Korea's No. 2 Leader Believed to Have Been Removed

We should obviously take this analysis with a grain of salt.  First as noted Jang has been "purged" before and then rehabilitated by Kim Jong-il.  Second, the reports are only that he has not been seen, there appears to be no conclusive proof yet that he has been purged.  Regime members often go for long periods of time without being seen.   That said, regarding the execution of his aides one report I received from a Korea hand is that the aides were supposedly executed right in front of him.

Now if Jang has been removed, I think all semblance of adult supervision may be gone.  We have to wonder about any remaining influence of his wife and Kim Jong-un's aunt.  I wonder what failures Jang is being blamed for?  The fact that hostage taking has not achieved significant benefits?  Or was he trying to sway Kim to release the hostages?  Perhaps he has been advocating following the Kim Il-sung/Kim Jong-il playbook but the US and ROK have not been following it in their responses and since it is not working to Kim Jong-un's satisfaction he had to purge Jang. I think if he has been in fact purged it does not bode well for the Kim Family Regime strategic decision making.  Kim Jong-un may be consolidating power but I worry that he has no real idea on how to use that power and we could see a miscalculation.
December 3, 2013 4:35 AM

North Korea's No. 2 Leader Believed to Have Been Removed

Kim Jong Un's Uncle Hasn't Been Seen in Weeks

SEOUL—North Korea's de facto No. 2 leader and uncle of dictator Kim Jong Unmay have been removed from power, South Korea's spy agency said on Tuesday.
Jang Song Thaek, vice chairman of North Korea's highest decision-making body, the National Defense Commission, hasn't been seen publicly since the execution of two of his close aides in November, South Korea's National Intelligence Service told lawmakers.
The NIS said it suspects Mr. Jang has been removed from power after his aides were executed on corruption allegations, according to the office of Jung Chung-rae, one of the lawmakers who was briefed by the spy agency.
Mr. Jang, related to Mr. Kim through his marriage to former ruler Kim Jong Il's sister, has long been a senior figure in the North Korean regime. He is widely believed to have played a central role in helping Kim Jong Un take control of the country after his father's death in December 2011.
South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean issues, confirmed that Mr. Jang's last public appearance was in a meeting with Japanese politician Kanji Inoki on Nov. 6.
Since taking power, Mr. Kim has moved to replace many of military leaders and other officials who served under his father. In October, North Korea appointed its fourth top military general in a little over a year.
South Korea's Unification Ministry estimates around 100 North Korean military, government and party officials have been replaced since Kim Jong Un took power.
(Continued at the link below)

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