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South Korea Quarantines Farms in Two Provinces on Bird Flu – Bloomberg

South Korea Quarantines Farms in Two Provinces on Bird Flu – Bloomberg.

South Korea banned the movement of people who work with poultry and products from two provinces after confirming an outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 at farms in the country’s south.

Authorities have restricted movement in North Jeolla province, South Jeolla province and Gwangju Metropolitan City, about 240 kilometers (150 miles) from Seoul, for 48 hours until midnight Jan. 20, Lee Dong Phil, minister of the agriculture, food and rural affairs, told reporters today.

The ministry confirmed the first outbreak in Gochang, North Jeolla province on Jan. 17, and at a duck farm in nearby Buan county today, according to separate statements on the ministry’s website. South Korea has culled 90,000 birds at six farms within a 500-meter radius, the ministry said today.

“It was inevitable to announce a stand-still in order to prevent further damage,” Lee said. “We ask all to comply thoroughly with the stand-still instructions.”

South Korea is the world’s third-biggest buyer of corn, used in food, livestock feed and biofuel. The country destroyed 6.5 million chickens and ducks in the previous outbreak spanning December 2010 through May 2011, according to government data.

Shares of Harim Holdings Co. (024660), which manufactures packaged chicken through its subsidiaries, fell 6.4 percent, the most since June, to close at 4,500 won on Jan. 17 in Seoul. The benchmark Kospi stock index declined 0.7 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Rose Kim in Seoul at rkim76@bloomberg.net; Sungwoo Park in Seoul at spark47@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stanley James at sjames8@bloomberg.net

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.

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : World Danger Spots for 2014

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : World Danger Spots for 2014.

written by eric margolis
Kiev Nov

Where are the world’s most dangerous places in 2014?

*Mostly forgotten, but the highly dangerous, Indian-controlled portion of disputed Kashmir. Rebellion against Indian rule by Kashmir’s majority Muslims is again boiling. Over 1.6 million Indian and Pakistani troops, backed by nuclear weapons, are in confrontation. Skirmishing along Kashmir’s Line of Control is frequent. The nuclear strike forces of both India and Pakistan are on a perilous hair-trigger alert, with about three minutes warning of an enemy attack.

A false warning of incoming missiles or aircraft, a border clash, or a massive offensive by India exasperated by guerilla attacks from Pakistan could set off a war that could kill millions and pollute the entire planet with radioactive dust. India and Pakistan aside, hardly anyone even thinks about beautiful, remote, perilous Kashmir.

*Korea’s Demilitarized Zone, the world’s second most dangerous place where 1.5 million North and South Korean troops, and 28,000 Americans, face off. Tension crackles along the DMZ. Some 11,000 N Korean guns and rockets are targeted on South Korea’s capitol, Seoul. The North is believed to have 4-6 crude nuclear devices that could hit S Korea or Japan.

In December, North Korea’s new ruler, Kim Jong-un, had his powerful uncle arrested and shot. This was another sign of the Pyongyang regime’s instability, and dangerously erratic behavior by youthful hothead leader, Kim Jong-un. War could erupt anytime along the DMZ. Just as likely, North Korea could collapse, sending 25 million starving northerners to seek refuge in South Korea, something that Seoul dreads.

*The dear old Mideast. Syria may continue disintegrating into warring mini-states. The US, Saudi, Israel, and Turkey sparked the uprising against Syrian ruler Bashar Assad to punish Iran, causing millions of refugees to flood the region. This after the US invasion of Iraq caused 3 million refugees. Iran and Saudi Arabia (backed by secret ally Israel) will fight over Syria’s bleeding body as this once lovely country is relentlessly destroyed. Yemen will continue to burn.

Intense efforts are underway by American neocons and their hired hands in Congress to get the US to attack Iran, or at least force the US to go to war against Iran if Israel initiates a conflict. Meanwhile, Israel is gearing up for another invasion of Lebanon aimed at destroying Hezbollah, and it may intervene directly in Syria. Egypt, now ruled by a fascist military junta, is working hand in glove with Israel and Saudi Arabia. The so-called Israel-Palestinian peace agreement is a very bad joke, a Mideast Kabuki dance in which no one believes.

*East Africa – A new cauldron of trouble. Efforts by Washington to forge a US-led African protectorate of South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Somalia – dominated by close US ally Ethiopia – have run into trouble. All are dictatorships that are rent by tribal, ethnic and regional problems.

Watch the new US Africa Command get drawn ever deeper into East, Central and North Africa, all regions, by no coincidence, with oil.

*China Sea – China has blundered into open confrontation with Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines over its claims to islets in the East China Sea. This has caused the US to beef up its Pacific forces and alliances. Japanese and Chinese warplanes and ships play a daily game of chicken around the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. China’s aggressive stance is causing Japan to increase military spending and may, along with North Korean threats, cause Japan to deploy nuclear weapons – which it can produce in only 90 days.

Chinese, usually deft, cautious diplomats, have alarmed much of East Asia for no good purpose. China’s government has been foolishly fanning the flames of nationalism among young people. All this resonates with the same type of idiotic, primitive behavior that unleashed World War I. The clock is ticking down rapidly.

*Strife-torn Ukraine is another powder keg. Its western half wants to join Europe; the Russian-speaking eastern half wants to reunite with Russia. The West is busy stirring the pot in Kiev. Moscow is furious and sees nefarious western plots to begin tearing apart the Russian Federation, which is beset by rebellion in the Caucasus. All this threatens a clash between Russia and NATO. Diplomacy, not subversion, is urgently needed.

Flickr/Oxlaey.com

1997 Asian Crisis Redux – Thailand Is Imploding | Zero Hedge

1997 Asian Crisis Redux – Thailand Is Imploding | Zero Hedge.

“There’s no near-term resolution in sight,” warns TCW Group’s David Loevinger, as “Thailand has entered an extended period of political instability.” This uncertainty has led to foreigners abandoning the nation’s stock market in record  size – and collapsing the Thai Baht at the same time. Why should US investors be worried? Thailand was the catalyst that started the 1997 Asian crisis, broke LTCM, and instigated the most epic experiments in central bank liquidity provision on record. With the Fed Tapering, both Indonesia and Thailand (and Turkey) are already seeing major currency collapses but of course, as long as US equities rise, no one cares (which is exactly what they said last time)…

Bloomberg’s Chart of the Day shows that the baht has plunged 5.1 percent since the end of October to a three-year low as international investors pulled a net $2.75 billion out of equities, the worst outflow in at least 14 years.

Investors are dumping Thai assets as two-month-old protests against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra intensify, threatening to deepen a slowdown in the second-largest southeast Asian economy. Opposition parties are trying to topple Yingluck after she pushed for a bill that would provide amnesty for her brother, Thaksin, who was ousted as premier in a 2006 coup and has lived in self-imposed exile overseas.

Yingluck dissolved parliament on Dec. 9, a move that triggered new elections set for February, in a bid to ease tensions. The country’s election commission warned yesterday that the vote could wind up stoking more violence after protesters tried to storm a Bangkok arena where candidates were registering.

And as a reminder… what happened in the 1997 crisis…

The Asian financial crisis was a period of financial crisis that gripped much of Asia beginning in July 1997, and raised fears of a worldwide economic meltdown due to financial contagion.

The crisis started in Thailand with the financial collapse of the Thai baht after the Thai government was forced to float the baht due to lack of foreign currency to support its fixed exchange rate, cutting its peg to the US$, after exhaustive efforts to support it in the face of a severe financial overextension that was in part real estate driven. At the time, Thailand had acquired a burden of foreign debt that made the country effectively bankrupt even before the collapse of its currency. As the crisis spread, most of Southeast Asia and Japan saw slumping currencies, devalued stock markets and other asset prices, and a precipitous rise in private debt.

Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand were the countries most affected by the crisis.

The causes of the debacle are many and disputed. Thailand’s economy developed into an economic bubble fueled by hot money. More and more was required as the size of the bubble grew. The same type of situation happened in Malaysia, and Indonesia, which had the added complication of what was called “crony capitalism”. The short-term capital flow was expensive and often highly conditioned for quick profit. Development money went in a largely uncontrolled manner to certain people only, not particularly the best suited or most efficient, but those closest to the centers of power.

At the time of the mid-1990s, Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea had large private current account deficits and the maintenance of fixed exchange rates encouraged external borrowing and led to excessive exposure to foreign exchange risk in both the financial and corporate sectors.

In the mid-1990s, a series of external shocks began to change the economic environment – the devaluation of the Chinese renminbi and the Japanese yen, raising of US interest rates which led to a strong U.S. dollar, the sharp decline in semiconductor prices; adversely affected their growth.

Many economists believe that the Asian crisis was created not by market psychology or technology, but by policies that distorted incentives within the lender–borrower relationshipThe resulting large quantities of credit that became available generated a highly leveraged economic climate, and pushed up asset prices to an unsustainable level

Sound familiar?

 

Chinese Media Compares Japan PM To “Terrorists And Fascists”; Blasts Abe’s Homage To “Devils”, Urges Boycott | Zero Hedge

Chinese Media Compares Japan PM To “Terrorists And Fascists”; Blasts Abe’s Homage To “Devils”, Urges Boycott | Zero Hedge.

On Thursday, Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe stunned the world by defying everyone – including the EU and the US whose embassy sent a tersely worded letter in which is said that it is “disappointed that Japan’s leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan’s neighbors” – when he visited the Yasukuni Shrine where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World War Two are honored along with those who died in battle, for the first time in 7 years. The response was fast and furious. Below, courtesy of Reuters, is a snapshot of the morning after in the Chinese media. The reviews of Abe’s action were not glowing.

In an editorial headlined “Abe’s paying homage to the devils makes people outraged”, the Chinese military’s People’s Liberation Army Daily said Abe’s action had “seriously undermined the stability of the region”.

“On one hand, Abe is paying homage to war criminals, and on the other hand, he talks about improving relations with China, South Korea and other countries,” the newspaper said. “It is simply a sham, a mouthful of lies.

“Today, the Chinese people have the ability to defend peace and they have a greater ability to stop all provocative militarism.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Abe’s visit to the shrine “has already attracted the Chinese people’s ire and denunciation”.

“How can a person who is not willing to face up to their own history, to facts, win the trust of the international community or cause people to believe he has a role to play in maintaining regional and global peace and stability?” Hua said at a daily news briefing.

In a separate commentary published under the pen name “Zhong Sheng”, or “Voice of China”, the Communist Party’s People’s Daily said: “History tells us that if people do not correctly understand the evils of the fascist war, cannot reflect on war crimes, a country can never (achieve) true rejuvenation.

The Global Times, an influential nationalistic tabloid owned by the People’s Daily, urged China to shut its door to Abe and other Japanese officials who have visited the shrine this year.

“If condemnations are China’s only recourse, then the nation is giving up its international political rights easily,” the newspaper said. “Ineffective countermeasures will make China be seen as a ‘paper tiger’ in the eyes of the rest of the world.

“In the eyes of China, Abe, behaving like a political villain, is much like the terrorists and fascists on the commonly seen blacklists.”

A survey on China’s Sina Weibo microblogging site on Thursday showed that almost 70 percent of respondents would support a boycott of Japanese goods, with many users expressing outrage at the shrine visit. The survey was later removed.

And yet, all of this appears set to blow over since China, like America, is now more focused on daily noise: the topic was not one of the most talked about on Weibo, with people being more distracted by the latest celebrity gossip and the upcoming new year.

 

China (And Korea) Blast Abe’s “Absolutely Unacceptable” Visit To War Shrine | Zero Hedge

China (And Korea) Blast Abe’s “Absolutely Unacceptable” Visit To War Shrine | Zero Hedge.

It has been 7 years and 4 months since the last Prime Ministerial visit to Yasukuni Shrine (a symbol of Japan’s past militarism – and its convicted war criminals – which appears to be resurrecting); but in what China describes as an act that is “absolutely unacceptable to the Chinese people,” current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid tribute to the war dead today. The strong reaction was met with a rapid ‘apology’ of sorts as Abe stated officially, “I am aware that, because of misunderstandings, some people criticise a visit to Yasukuni shrine as an act of worshipping war criminals… [but] I have no intention at all to hurt the feelings of Chinese or South Korean people.”

In the past… (via Reuters)

China and South Korea have repeatedly expressed anger in the past over Japanese politicians’ visits to Yasukuni Shrinewhere Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal are honored along with war dead.

The shrine is seen in parts of Asia as a symbol of Japanese past militarism.

Abe’s Excuse…

Via AFP,

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday his visit to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine was a pledge that Japan would not go to war again and was not intended to hurt Chinese or South Koreans.

“I chose this day to report (to enshrined spirits) what we have done in the year since the administration launched and to pledge and determine that never again will people suffer in war,” he told reporters at the shrine.

I am aware that, because of misunderstandings, some people criticise a visit to Yasukuni shrine as an act of worshipping war criminals, but I made my visit to pledge to create an era where people will never suffer from catastrophe in war,” Abe said.

“I have no intention at all to hurt the feelings of Chinese or South Korean people.”

And The Chinese response…

Chinese foreign ministry Asian affairs dept head: Yasukuni visit “absolutely unacceptable to the Chinese people” pic.twitter.com/c3skU6FnTn

— Austin Ramzy (@austinramzy) December 26, 2013

And the consequences…

Chinese Foreign Ministry on Abe Yasukuni visit: “The Japanese side must bear all consequences.” #uhoh

— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) December 26, 2013

The Chinese people are enraged…

Chinese netizens call for anti-Japan boycott and inquire about street protest on Strong Nation Forum http://t.co/FYp4SEjAmS

— Jessica Chen Weiss (@jessicacweiss) December 26, 2013

and The Koreans are now chiming in…

(LEAD) Abe’s Yasukuni visit to have diplomatic repercussions: Seoul http://t.co/n6iX6rz1pf

— Yonhap News Agency (@YonhapNews) December 26, 2013

 

Kim tells N Korean army to ready for combat – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

Kim tells N Korean army to ready for combat – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English.

Kim visited the Command of Large Combined Unit 526 on Tuesday to mark the day his father became supreme commander [EPA]
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has warned war could break out “without any prior notice” and urged his military to bolster its combat readiness, state media reported.The call on Wednesday comes one day after a US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University report said that satellite imagery suggested that the North might have begun producing fuel rods for its recently restarted nuclear reactor.

There has been heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula following the execution of Kim’s uncle and former mentor in an unusually public purge.

Seoul and Washington have warned of possible provocative acts by the nuclear-armed North following the execution of Jang Song-Thaek, a senior leader who was also the uncle and former political mentor of the younger leader.

Kim visited the Command of Large Combined Unit 526 on Christmas Eve, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said.

“He instructed the unit to put utmost spurs on rounding off its combat readiness… always bearing in mind that a war breaks out without any prior notice,” it said.

The unit is based in the North’s western port city of Nampo, according to the South’s Yonhap news agency.

‘Ominous’ situation

The Johns Hopkins University report said that satellite imagery had identified facilities at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Centre that might produce fuel for North Korea’s recently restarted  plutonium production reactor and the Experimental Light Water Reactor still under construction.

“The identification of these facilities indicates a more wide-ranging, extensive effort by North Korea to modernise and restart the Yongbyon complex dating back to 2009 than previously understood,” the report said.

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye called for “watertight security readiness” during her trip on Tuesday to a frontline guard post, as she described the situation over the border as “ominous”.

“We should react sternly and mercilessly to any provocations by North Korea,” she said.

The reclusive state’s propaganda mill has gone into overdrive in recent days, describing Jang as a traitor while extolling Kim’s leadership.

Tens of thousands of troops pledged loyalty to him in a mass rally on the death anniversary of his father last Tuesday.

The Kim dynasty has ruled the impoverished but nuclear-armed state since 1948 with an iron fist and pervasive personality cult.

 

N Korea ‘restarting nuclear programme’ – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

N Korea ‘restarting nuclear programme’ – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English.

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.

Nuclear stockpile

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.

 

International concern over N Korea execution – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

International concern over N Korea execution – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English.

The reported execution of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s powerful uncle has caused worries over the stability of the isolated country, with various governments expressing concern over the potential implications of the move.

The state-run KCNA news agency announced on Friday that a special military trial was held for the once-influential Jang Song-thaek before he was executed on Thursday.

Jang, who had been branded as “traitor” and dismissed from his positions and powers on Monday, was accused of a string of criminal acts including corruption, womanising and drug-taking.

“The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crimes as attempting to overthrow the state,” KCNA reported.
South Korea on Friday expressed “deep concern” over the developments, and said it would prepare for “all possibilities in the future” and coordinate closely with its allies.

“The North usually curbs internal instability by waging provocations externally,” the Ryoo Kihl-Jae, the South Korean unification minister said, warning the purge could be followed by military actions, including another nuclear test.

China, Pyongyang’s major ally and economic lifeline, said Jang’s execution was an “internal matter” but also stressed the need for stability.

“As a neighbour we hope to see national stability, economic development and people living in happiness in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular briefing.

Tokyo said that it was “closely watching the situation”.

“We will calmly monitor the situation while communicating with other countries and collect relevant information,” the Kyodo news agency quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga as saying.

‘Deep concern’

Washington said that the execution was “another example of the extreme brutality of the North Korean regime”.

The North usually curbs internal instability by waging provocations externallyRyoo Kihl-Jae, South Korea’s unification minister

“We are following developments in North Korea closely and consulting with our allies and partners in the region,” Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, said.

London expressed “deep concern about the impact of this unpredictable regime on stability in the region”.

“Our embassy in Pyongyang is monitoring the situation closely and we will continue to maintain close contact with our allies on this,” a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said.

The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Friday carried a photograph of Jang in handcuffs and being held by uniformed guards as he stood trial.

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from Bangkok, said the execution has laid bare a massive power struggle in the secretive country.

“It’s an incredibly public condemnation of this once very powerful man,” our correspondent said.

The sacking on Monday suggests Pyongyang is undergoing its biggest leadership upheaval since the death in 2011 of former leader Kim Jong-il, the younger Kim’s father.

‘Wild ambition’

KCNA said earlier this week that Jang had been removed from all his posts and expelled from the Workers’ Party.

“From long ago, Jang had a dirty political ambition. He dared not raise his head when Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il were alive,” KCNA said, referring to leader Kim’s grandfather and father, who were previous rulers of the dynastic state.

“He began revealing his true colours, thinking that it was just the time for him to realise his wild ambition in the period of historic turn when the generation of the revolution was replaced.”

Jang was married to Kim’s aunt, the daughter of the North’s founding leader Kim Il-sung, and was widely considered to be working to ensure his nephew firmly established his grip on power in the past two years.

Jang had been a prominent fixture in many of the reports and photographs of Kim Jong-un’s public activities, but his appearances have tapered off sharply this year and he has not appeared in official media since early November.

 

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