North Korea executes uncle of Kim Jong Un as a traitor

Associated Press Published:

PYONGYANG, North Korea -- North Korea today announced the execution of Kim Jong Un's uncle, calling the leader's former mentor a traitor and "worse than a dog."

The announcement came only days after Pyongyang announced that Jang Song Thaek -- long considered the country's No. 2 power -- had been removed from all his posts because of allegations of corruption, drug use, gambling, womanizing and leading a "dissolute and depraved life."

Jang was seen as helping Kim Jong Un consolidate power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, two years ago. Jang was the latest and most significant in a series of personnel reshuffles that Kim has conducted in an apparent effort to bolster his power.

Tensions are still high on the Korean Peninsula following a torrent of threats in March and April by Kim Jong Un's government against Washington, Seoul and Tokyo.

The threats include vows of missile and nuclear strikes and warnings that Pyongyang would restart nuclear bomb fuel production.

Jang was married to Kim Jong Un's aunt, Kim Kyong Hui, the younger sister of Kim Jong Il. He was earlier described by state media as "abusing his power," being "engrossed in irregularities and corruption," and taking drugs and squandering money at casinos while undergoing medical treatment in a foreign country.

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