- (Photo: Reuters/KRT via Reuters TV)
South Korea's state news agency has reported that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has executed the entire family of his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, who was killed last month. Among the executed are children and the North's ambassadors to Cuba and Malaysia, the unverified report claims.
"Extensive executions have been carried out for relatives of Jang Song-Thaek," Yonhap quotes an anonymous source as saying. "All relatives of Jang have been put to death, including even children."
The agency identifies those executed as 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 sons, daughters and even grandchildren of Jang's two brothers were all executed," the agency says.
The relatives were recalled to Pyongyang after Jang's death on Dec. 12 and executed. "Some relatives were shot to death by pistol in front of other people if they resisted while being dragged out of their apartment homes."
The White House had condemned the reported execution of Jang, who was once considered the second most powerful man in North Korea.
Jang was accused of treason and drug abuse among other charges.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters last month that while the Obama administration could not confirm Jang's execution, there is no reason to doubt the North Korea state media's announcement that he was put to death.
"What it is indicative of, however, is the values of the regime, their low regard for human life, and what is probably the worst human rights record in the world, and that's saying something," Carney said.
North Korea's official KCNA news agency stated of Jang, "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 crime as attempting to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state."
"It is an elementary obligation of a human being to repay trust with sense of obligation and benevolence with loyalty," KCNA added. "However, despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him."
Last month, North Korea released 85-year-old U.S. veteran Merrill Newman after holding him for more than a week for allegedly making plots against Pyongyang. However, American Christian missionary Kenneth Bae is still being held at a labor camp.
Since its formation in 1948, the communist nation has been ruled by one party, the Korea Worker's Party, led by one family, the Kims. There are at least 100,000 Christians in that nation's harsh prison camps, where prisoners face torture, forced labor and possible execution, according to Christian groups.