North Koreans have expressed outrage at the behaviour of leader Kim Jong-un’s uncle and advisor, Jang Song-taek, who has been executed.
Jang had been considered the second most powerful man in the North. State media said he was immediately executed after a military tribunal found him guilty of treason for attempting to overthrow the state.
North Korea’s news agency KCNA released an extraordinary English-language 2,743-word statement, seeking to justify the decision.
In Pyongyang, many locals said he deserved to be executed for challenging the country’s leadership.
Pak Chang Gi spoke of Jang: “He’s like an enemy who dares to be crazy enough to take over power from our party and our leader. And look how much harm he did to the people’s lives. He got what he deserved,” he said.
Local resident Ri Chol Ho said: “For this group of traitors who were going to destroy our single-hearted unity, execution is too lenient. They should be torn up and thrown into the rubbish bin of history.”
Jang’s execution came almost two weeks after South Korea’s spy agency reported that two of his closest assistants had been executed for corruption.
South Korea’s presidential office said it had held a ministerial meeting to review the developments, although the government in Seoul said it had not detected any unusual military activity in the North.
The United States said it was following the developments in North Korea and consulting with allies in the region. “If confirmed, this is another example of the extreme brutality of the North Korean regime,” said White House National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell.
Japan said the move could herald a period of radical upheaval.