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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.
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.
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.
A cooling tower at Yongbyon was destroyed in June 2008, but the plant now seems to be reactivating [Reuters]
|Satellite imagery suggests North Korea is making “wide-ranging, extensive” efforts to fully reactivate its main nuclear complex, a US think-tank has said, in line with Pyongyang’s vows to strengthen its weapons programme.Recent images show work at the Yongbyon nuclear compound, apparently aimed at producing fuel rods to be used in a plutonium reactor, Johns Hopkins University’s US-Korea Institute said.
Analysis of the imagery identified one “probable fuel fabrication plant” for the 5-megawatt plutonium reactor that reopened earlier this year, researcher Nick Hansen wrote on the institute’s blog, 38 North.
The isolated communist state staged its third nuclear test in February, its most powerful to date, after two previous tests in 2006 and 2009.
Two months later, it said it would reopen the Yongbyon nuclear compound in the northwest that had been shut since 2007, in order to bolster its atomic arsenal.
“The soot on the new roof shows that a heating process had occurred, such as the use of metal casting furnaces necessary to complete the heat treatment during the fuel rod assembly,” Hansen wrote.
A nearby venue that appears to be a dumping site showed a large amount of “grey materials” suspected to be ash from the fuel rod production process, he added.
“The identification of these facilities indicates a more wide-ranging, extensive effort by North Korea to modernise and restart the Yongbyon complex… than previously understood,” he wrote.
Pyongyang’s current stockpile of nuclear materials, mostly plutonium, is variously estimated as being enough for six to 10 bombs.
Nam Jae-Joon, chief of the South’s intelligence agency, told politicians on Monday that the North was capable of staging another atomic test anytime but had so far showed no signs of doing so.
- US institute says North Korea is expanding nuclear plant (straitstimes.com)
- North Korea expanding nuclear plant, US institute says (foxnews.com)
- U.S. Officials: North Korea Missiles Moved Away From Launch Site (huffingtonpost.com)
- N Korea ‘moves missiles from coast’ (bbc.co.uk)
- North Korea eases tension by moving missiles (guardian.co.uk)
- North Korea pulls missiles from launch site (cbsnews.com)
- North Korea withdraws missiles from launch site (edition.cnn.com)
- North Korea moves missiles away from coastal launch site, say US officials (independent.co.uk)
- North Korea sets preconditions for talks’ restart (straitstimes.com)
- North Korea lays out conditions for negotiations (vancouverdesi.com)
- N Korea sets conditions for talks (independent.ie)
- North Korea urges foreigners to vacate South Korea (columbian.com)
- North Korea urges foreigners to leave the South (telegraph.co.uk)
- North Korea Issues New Warnings of War (voanews.com)
- Video: Tension grows in North and South Korea, two countries are on the verge of war (vancouversun.com)