THE entire family of Kim Jong-un’s uncle, executed less than a month ago, have also been killed at the North Korean leader’s instruction, according to reports.
Jang Song Thaek was put to death on December 12 at the age of 67 after making an alleged attempt to dethrone his nephew, including contemplating a military-backed coup.
Now Yonhap News Agency reports all Jang’s direct relatives were called to Pyongyang last month and executed in a bid to “clamp down on mutiny”.
“Extensive executions have been carried out for relatives of Jang Song Thaek,” a source said. “All relatives of Jang have been put to death, including even children.”
The executed relatives include Jang’s sister Jang Kye-sun, her husband and Ambassador to Cuba Jon Yong-jin, and Ambassador to Malaysia Jang Yong-chol, who is a nephew of Jang, as well as his two sons, the sources said.
The sons, daughters and even grandchildren of Jang’s two brothers were also reportedly killed.
“Some relatives were shot to death by pistol in front of other people if they resisted while being dragged out of their apartment homes,” another source said.
Some relatives by marriage, including the wife of the ambassador to Malaysia, were reportedly spared and sent to remote villages.
“The executions of Jang’s relatives mean that no traces of him should be left,” a source said. “The purge of the Jang Song-thaek people is under way on an extensive scale from relatives and low-level officials.”
The news comes after North Korea urged a skeptical South Korea to respond to a recent series of trust-building gestures and again urged Seoul to cancel upcoming military drills with the United States.
The apparent olive branch on Friday came in the form of an open letter sent to South Korean authorities by the North’s top military body on the orders of leader Kim Jong-un proffering “reconciliation and unity”.
Published by the North’s official KCNA news agency, the letter built on a series of confidence-building proposals that South Korea has already dismissed as a “deceptive” propaganda exercise.
“What is important for paving a wide avenue for mending North-South relations is to make a bold decision to stop all hostile military acts, the biggest hurdle stoking distrust and confrontation,” the letter from the National Defence Commission said.