Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, is escorted in to court Photo: AFP/Getty Images
The execution by Kim Jong-un of his uncle Jang Song-thaek was swift, brutal - and a slap in the face for China, writes the former UK ambassador to North Korea
By Jon Everard
11:31AM GMT 13 Dec 2013
Never before has North Korea purged someone so publicly as it has just eliminated Kim Jong-un’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek.
In the past purges were usually conducted in secret. But this time not only has the detailed political indictment against Jang been published (in the form of the report of the Politburo meeting on Sunday at which he was dismissed) but his actual eviction from a party meeting was broadcast on North Korean television.
Then, early today, came the brutal climax: the announcement on official state television that he had been executed for treason, branded “despicable human scum”.
In making this very public display of ruthlessness Kim Jong-un probably had three objectives. Firstly, nobody in North Korea can doubt now that he, and he alone, is in charge. Nor can anybody doubt that he is utterly ruthless in removing absolutely anybody who might, in the colourful language of the indictment, “dream different dreams”.