North Korea’s state media yesterday sought to whip up public support for the shock purge of leader Kim Jong-un’s uncle and former mentor, as South Korea accused Kim of waging a “reign of terror.”
The North confirmed on Monday that Jang Song-thaek — seen as Kim’s political regent and the country’s unofficial No. 2 — had been stripped of all posts and titles, accusing him of corruption and building a rival power base.
State TV showed photographs of Jang being dragged out of his seat at a meeting by two officers, in an extremely rare public humiliation of a figure who has now been demonized by the media as a drug-taking womanizer.
The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said citizens angered by Jang’s alleged crimes, which have been laid out in unusual detail, vowed to “burn Jang to death” or “cut his throat.”
“Those miscreants who sought to ruin our unity deserve a divine punishment... I want to throw Jang and his group into boiling water,” it quoted Ri Yong-song, a thermal power plant worker in Pyongyang, as saying.
The newspaper, in an article titled “Merciless iron hammers for anti-party elements!” also quoted a machinery plant worker who described Jang and his faction as “human trash” who were “worse than animals.”
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye yesterday accused the young leader of resorting to extreme violence to cement his leadership.
“North Korea is now engaged in a reign of terror while carrying out a massive purge to consolidate the power of Kim Jong-un,” she told a Cabinet meeting, according to her office.
Park said that cross-border relations could now become even shakier.
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia is rapidly changing, and we cannot lower our guard against North Korean threats and changes in its political situation,” she said.