Kim hails the killing of his uncle
NORTH Korean leader Kim Jong Un yesterday hailed the recent execution of his powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek, saying the removal of "factionalist scum" had helped cement unity among his people.
In his New Year message broadcast on state TV, Mr Kim described the purge of a "faction" within the ruling party as a "resolute action", in his first public remarks about Jang since his shock execution on Dec 12.
"Our party took resolute action to remove...factionalist scums within the party last year," Mr Kim said, repeating the party's earlier accusation against Jang that he tried to build his own power base. "Our party's timely, accurate decision to purge the anti-party, anti-revolutionary and factionalist elements helped greatly cement unity of the party and the revolution and strengthened our solidarity by 100 times."
Dr Yang Moo Jin, a professor at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies, said the speech underlined Mr Kim's intention to portray himself as an unchallenged and stable leader, two years after he took the reins of power.
He said: "He is giving a message to his people that, with Jang gone, now let's put the purge behind and look to the future based on firm unity among the party, military and the government."
Jang, once the communist country's unofficial No. 2 and Mr Kim's political mentor, was executed on a range of charges, including plotting a coup and corruption.
The 67-year-old played a key role in cementing the leadership of the inexperienced Kim, who took power after the death of his father and long-time ruler, Mr Kim Jong Il, in December 2011. But his growing political power and influence drew resentment from his nephew, who is barely half his age, analysts said.
The purge was staged in an extraordinarily public and brutal fashion, while Jang was criticised in a party statement as "human scum" and a drug-addicted womaniser who pocketed millions of dollars of state money to support his decadent lifestyle.