Kim Jong Un's Uncle Removed From Powerful Position

Continued purges by young North Korean leader could create instability.

Jang Song Thaek, North Korea's former vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission, attends the third meeting on developing the economic zones in North Korea, in Beijing on Aug. 14, 2012.

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un ousted his uncle Jang Song Thaek, pictured above, for alleged corruption and a long list of other "anti-state" acts on Sunday, according to state news service KCNA.


This story was updated on Dec. 12 at 5:27 p.m.

Multiple media outlets report Jang Song Thaek, the uncle-by-marriage of Kim Jong Un and former chief official among North Korea’s ruling elite, has been executed. 

State-run news service KCNA reports Jang was accused of attempted uprising against the state, as well as corruption and such “depraved” acts as womanizing and drug abuse, according to the BBC. 

Jang was executed immediately after a military trial on Thursday on charges of treason. 


This story was originally posted on Dec. 9 at 11:41 a.m.

Yet another member of North Korea's ruling elite and relative of the young dictator Kim Jong Un finds himself ousted from a position of power within the hermetic kingdom.

Jang Song Thaek, who married Kim's aunt, used to hold a senior position within the Ruling Worker's Party politburo. State news service KCNA confirms Sunday he has been removed.

The latest ouster continues a trend of Kim, believed to be roughly 30 years old, purging his inner circle of officials brought on during the reign of his father, Kim Jong Il, in favor of his own entourage.

CNN reports Kim accused Jang of "double dealing," "dreaming different dreams" and corruption in exporting North Korea's resources, citing a statement by KCNA.

"Jang desperately worked to form a faction within the party by creating illusion about him and winning those weak in faith and flatterers to his side," it said.

[READ: American Detainee in North Korea Led Guerilla Fighters in 1950's]

North Korean television has already begun broadcasting documentaries that had included Jang with the ousted leader now wiped out, reports South Korean newspaper The Chosunilbo. In one scene, Kim speaks with the North Korean air force chief. Jang had been in the backgroud clapping. The latest version shows only his legs.

A spokesman told reporters on Sunday that Jang and his wife appear to have separated, according to Chosunilbo.

Expert analysis cited by the Associated Press on Monday indicates the move may be indicative of Kim's increasing confidence in the role he assumed following the death of his father in 2011. Jang had been a close adviser to the young heir.

Jang also served as a staunch supporter of Chinese-style reforms to North Korea's economy, which may create further instability following his departure.

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Corrected on : Update 12/12/2013: This article was updated to reflect new information.