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North Korea ‘executes slain general’s family’ – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

North Korea ‘executes slain general’s family’ – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English.

Jang was a powerful general in the military before his execution in December [Reuters]
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the execution of his uncle’s entire family, including his children and relatives serving as ambassadors to Cuba and Malaysia, according to South Korea’s state news agency, Yonhap.Jang Song-thaek, a once powerful North Korean military general, was executed last month as divisions between him and his nephew Kim widened.

All relatives of Jang have been put to death, including even children.Unnamed source for Yonhap.

Kim referred to Jang as “worse than a dog” and “human scum” in his announcement of his execution, which he said was for treachery and betreyal. Pictures showed Jang being led from his office by state security.

“Extensive executions have been carried out for relatives of Jang Song-thaek,” an anonymous source said to Yonhap in a report published on Sunday. “All relatives of Jang have been put to death, including even children.”

The executed relatives include Jang’s sister Kye-sun, her husband and ambassador to Cuba, Jon Yong-jin, the ambassador to Malaysia, Jang Yong-chol, who is Jang’s nephew, as well as his two sons, the sources said.

The two ambassadors were recalled to Pyongyang in early December. The sons, daughters and grandchildren of Jang’s two brothers were all executed, the sources told Yonhap.

One source told Yonhap that some relatives were dragged out of their houses and shot in front of a crowd.

South Korea’s state news agency did not specify when they were killed. The article does not mention any specific sources and the agency is known for its anti-North Korean bias.

US sends troops and tanks to South Korea – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

US sends troops and tanks to South Korea – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the US stood united with South Korea against the North [AP]
The United States is to deploy more troops and heavy tanks in South Korea as part of a military rebalance at a time of raised tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Forty M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks, 800 soldiers and 40 Bradley fighting vehicles from the 1st US Cavalry Division will be sent on deployment in February, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted military officials as saying that the new troops and materiel would be deployed in North Gyeonggi Province, just south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas.

The deployment comes at a time of raised tensions on the peninsula after the North’s young leader, Kim Jong-Un, executed his powerful uncle last month, the biggest upheaval inside the ruling dynasty for years.

The North under Jong-Un has continued to develop nuclear weapons and test missiles in defiance of UN resolutions.

Commenting on the deployment, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said: “The United States and the Republic of Korea stand very firmly united, without an inch of daylight between us, not a sliver of daylight, on the subject of opposition to North Korea’s destabilising nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and proliferation activities.

Army Colonel Steve Warren said: “This addition is part of the rebalance to the Pacific. It’s been long planned and is part of our enduring commitment to security on the Korean peninsula.

“This gives the commanders in Korea an additional capacity: two companies of tanks, two companies of Bradleys.”

The US has 28,000 troops based in South Korea, which has remained technically at war with Communist North Korea since the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended in stalemate.

A Pentagon spokesman said the additional equipment would be left behind after the nine-month deployment to be used by follow-on rotations of US forces.

Barack Obama, the US president, announced a strategic rebalancing of priorities toward the Pacific in late 2011 while winding down US commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

NK offers olive branch after holocaust threat – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

NK offers olive branch after holocaust threat – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English.

S Korea has rejected calls for an end to the mudslinging, saying it does not slander or threaten the North [AP]
North Korea has called on South Korea to end “all acts of provocation and slander”, a day after it warned of “an unimaginable holocaust” if the South carried out military exercises with the United States.

The National Defence Commission in Pyongyang adopted the conciliatory tone on Thursday in line with leader Kim Jong-un’s New Year speech about greater co-operation between the two countries.

In a statement posted on the official KCNA news agency, the NDC said: “We officially propose the South Korean authorities to take a practical measure of halting all acts of provoking and slandering the other side from January 30, a day before the Lunar New Year’s Day.”

But the olive branch was rejected by Seoul on Friday, with a government spokesman saying there was no intention of changing its behaviour or plans.

“We don’t slander North Korea so there is nothing for us to stop,” Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-Do said.

“Our military exercises are routine defensive drills, like those conducted by all sovereign states.”

The North has regularly denounced the annual drills staged by South Korea and US as preparation for invasion.

This year, Pyongyang said the exercises were dangerous and “may push the situation on the peninsula and the north-south ties to a catastrophe,” KCNA reported.

A spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) said in a statement: “They should clearly understand that the north-south ties will plunge into a deadlock and unimaginable holocaust and that disaster will follow should they go ahead with the nuclear war drills and make military provocation.”

Last year’s exercises were held in the wake of North Korea’s third and largest nuclear test, prompting months of heightened military tensions that saw Pyongyang issue apocalyptic threats of nuclear war against the South and the US.

North Korea’s Purge Message to China: Pay Up – Bloomberg

North Korea’s Purge Message to China: Pay Up – Bloomberg.

In this image taken from video North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, waves to…Read More

Chinese President Xi Jinping must have felt pretty pleased with himself earlier this year, after he dispatched rival and former Politburo member Bo Xilai in a dramatic, humiliating show trial. When it comes to staging purges, though, North Korea’s brash young leader Kim Jong Un has him beat.

Kim didn’t just arrest his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, the second-most powerful man in the country. The boy-dictator appears to have had Jang brought out of seclusion in order to arrest him again at a televised leadership meeting, then tried and executed on the grounds of being “an anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional element and despicable political careerist and trickster,” according to the judgment of a secret military tribunal. No doubt.

Jang’s fall may have sent an equally loud message to Xi in Beijing. Until recently, Jang had been the North Korean official most closely linked to China — a mature diplomatic go-between, and the man responsible for forging deals with Chinese mining and other companies looking to exploit North Korea’s natural resources and cheap labor. By eliminating his uncle, young Kim seemed to be warning Xi and the Beijing leadership not to presume to work through anyone but him. The fate of North Korea’s special economic zones and other Chinese-style economic innovations now hangs in doubt.

Optimists might hope that the purge will finally convince China of its ally’s unreliability. In fact, though Beijing’s tolerance for Kim’s provocations has been tested, it has never snapped. China still values regime stability over all else: The last thing Beijing wants to see is a reunified Korean Peninsula, governed from Seoul, and allied to the U.S. Jang’s downfall doesn’t change that calculus.

The purge could well end up pushing China and its errant vassal closer together. After Jang’s execution, Japan’s hawkish Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera warned, “North Korea might become a more radical place in the future.” Next Tuesday the Japanese government is expected to approve a more assertive defense policy, one that is justified by the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs but that clearly has China in mind as well.

The U.S., too, has cited the North Korean threat to justify stationing ballistic missle defense systems on Guam next year. And this week Japan and South Korea — whose relations have soured recently over questions about Japan’s attitude toward its war record — went ahead with a previously scheduled, joint naval exercise in the East China Sea.

Xi and others in China may also not be as perturbed by Jang’s ouster as some commentators seem to think. The late No. 2’s influence had been declining for almost a year; in May 2013, Kim dispatched a Jang rival as a special envoy to Beijing. It’s also not clear that the purge will necessarily derail some of the economic reforms Jang had championed. On Monday, the day after his public humiliation, the North signed a contract to develop yet another special economic zone along the Chinese border.

Jang’s purge, though, is hardly reassuring to China. Among other things, the Politburo charged Jang with “throwing the state financial management system into confusion and committing such acts of treachery as selling off precious resources of the country at cheap prices” — in other words, cutting deals that were too generous to the Chinese.

No doubt the youngest Kim had many reasons for ousting his uncle — not least, to send a message to an older generation of North Korean officials not to dare challenge the Dear Leader’s authority. To Xi and China, the message seems to be slightly different: it’s time to pay up.

 

North Korea: Pyongyang lays out detailed conditions for US talks | World news | guardian.co.uk

North Korea: Pyongyang lays out detailed conditions for US talks | World news | guardian.co.uk.

 

Officials Warn: “North Korea Could Explode A High-Altitude Nuclear Device Over The United States” | Market Daily News

Officials Warn: “North Korea Could Explode A High-Altitude Nuclear Device Over The United States” | Market Daily News.

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