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N. Korea`s quick execution reveals economic woes and internal instability
DECEMBER 14, 2013 04:14  
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed Jang Song Thaek, the second most powerful man in the North and his uncle-in-law, just four days after arresting him at a politburo meeting of the Workers Party of Korea for treason, declaring him as the mastermind of a coup attempt. Jang, who had enjoyed power as one of the closest confidants of the North`s ruling Kim family for four decades, had his life ended tragically by his nephew holding absolute power.

Ironically, a lengthy verdict that the North disclosed to make Jang`s "crimes" public vividly showed how unstable the North Korean regime was. Jang was quoted as saying during the trial he "attempted to trigger off discontent among service personnel and people when the present regime does not take any measure despite the fact that the economy of the country and people뭩 living are driven into catastrophe." His confession reveals North Korea resident`s dire situation. He was also quoted as saying that he attempted to become premier "when the economy goes totally bankrupt and the state is on the verge of collapse in a certain period" and that if he solves the problem of people뭩 living at a certain level, the people and service personnel "will shout `hurrah` for me." Unintentionally, the North confessed that there were people fed up by 65 years of the Kim family`s iron-fist rule. It is a reminder of China`s trial of former Chongqing mayor Bo Xilai that disclosed the country`s internal diseases such as corruption, sex scandals, drugs, murders and overseas flight.

On one hand, it is surprising to know that there was a homegrown attempt of revolution in North Korea. On the other hand, it is encouraging, as the North showed signs of internal instability despite the impression that Kim Jong Un was solidifying his power after completing the third-generation power succession. Dissidents will likely keep a low profile under the current circumstances. It is possible that once there is a certain motivation, North Korean residents` resentment against the Pyongyang regime will spread like wildfire.

Also attracting the eyes is the accusation that Jang sold coal and other precious underground resources "at random" and sold off the land of the Rason economic and trade zone to a foreign country for a period of five decades. Purging Jang and his confidants known to be pro-China would deal a severe blow to the North`s large-scale economic projects.

The process of the Ministry of State Security, which is directly under Kim Jong Un, executing Jang immediately after a military tribunal, has laid bare the barbaric nature of the North Korean regime. Jang was executed in less than 24 hours after he received a death sentence. It was an inhumane execution that showed former North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il`s extreme cruelty.

On December 17, the second anniversary of Kim Jong Il`s death, rising and fallen members of the North Korean power elite will likely be revealed. The two Koreas will hold a meeting to discuss issues involving the Kaesong Industrial Complex on December 19 as scheduled. Although the North is showing no unusual signs, the South needs to manage the situation thoroughly and must be fully prepared for any possible provocation by the North.

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