North Korea's Kim Jong Un lauds purge of executed uncle
This file picture taken by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 15, 2013 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (R) applauding at the Unhasu orchestra concert at the People's Theatre in Pyongyang to celebrate the 101st anniversary of the birth of late leader Kim Il-Sung, as his uncle, Jang Song-Thaek (L), looks on.
January 1st, 2014
07:53 AM ET

North Korea's Kim Jong Un lauds purge of executed uncle

By Jethro Mullen

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday praised the recent purge of his uncle and former protector, saying it brought greater unity within the secretive, nuclear-armed state.

"In the seething period of the effort for building a thriving country last year, we took the resolute measure of removing the factionalists lurking in the Party," Kim said in a New Year's address, referring to the North's ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

"As our Party detected and purged the anti-Party, counterrevolutionary factionalists at an opportune time and with a correct decision, the Party and revolutionary ranks were further consolidated and our single-hearted unity was solidified to the maximum," Kim said, according to the text of the speech carried by North Korean state media.

The purged uncle, Jang Song Thaek, was considered instrumental in Kim's rise to power in December 2011 and, until recently, was regarded as the second-most powerful figure in North Korea. But the young leader turned his back on Jang in spectacular fashion late last year, having him executed last month on charges he tried to overthrow the government.

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Filed under: Kim Jong-un • North Korea