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Was North Korea Jang Song-thaek Execution A Signal to Beijing?

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Published on Dec 13, 2013

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On December 12 North Korea's Jang Song-thaek
was charged with plotting to overthrow the state.
He was subsequently executed.

Jang had visited China many times, and was
an important connection between North Korea and China.
China provided political asylum to
Jang'ssupporters after the execution.
However, Kim Jong-un was also invited to visit China
by official media, immediately following Jang's execution.
Observers believe that Kim Jong-un executed Jang
so quickly that he can bash the Beijing authorities.

According to a North Korean Central News Agency
report on December 12, the State Security Department
conducted a special military trial for Jang Song-thaek.

According to Criminal Code offenses specified
in Article 60, Jang Song-thaek was considered
to align with enemy ideologically.

He was sentenced to death and executed immediately.

However, "Free North Korea Radio" in
Seoul quoted senior sources in Pyongyang.
It was reported that Jang and six supporters
had been executed on December 5.

Hong Kong's "Wen Wei Po" also reported
that Jang Song-thaek was arrested by
Kim Jong Un's second brother, Jang Jong-chol.

It was an unusual execution, as Jang and
his supporters were bound naked on railings.
They were attacked and eaten by 120 Northeast
hounds, that had been starved for three days.
The execution lasted one hour, and Kim Jong-un and his
wife Li Xue Lord, led more than 300 officials in watching.

South Korean "Chosun Ilbo" reported that more
than 3,000 soldiers of the 39th Army section, from
Shenyang Military Region, were moving in the
area of the Changbai mountains on December 5.
South Korea media believes that the Chinese Communist
Party responded to the North Korean mutilation events.

After Jang Song-thaek was purged, Vice Premier
Ro Tu Chol and Li Wurong fled to China.
They were sheltered by the Chinese authorities.

However, after Jang's execution, the CCP's attitude changed.

On December 10, "Xinhua News Agency"
quoted an editorial from the English version
of the CCP's mouthpiece "Global Times".

It claimed that "China should help bring about
Kim Jong-un's visit to China as soon as possible".
It is said that Jang Song-thaek's purge proved
Kim Jong-un is firmly in control of the situation.
A good relationship between North Korea
and China is very strategic to China.
In addition, Kim Jong-un is still young, and can
possibly become the country's decisive factor.

Prof. Xia Ming, Political Science, New York
City University: "The communist regime's
collision will threaten the Chinese regime.
It will impact it psychologically, since it was
supported by China for such long term.
Even though they loathe each other; the Chinese regime
on the one hand helped some government officials escape.
On the other hand, it maintains relations with the new leader."

Lan Shu, political commentator: "It's very clear that Beijing
and Pyongyang don't want to lose such a rogue ally.
This is because other countries
have completely different values.
The need of interest between Beijing and
Pyongyang is not going to be changed."

On December 12, German Ambassador to the DPRK
Saffo said the North Korean military eradicated Jang
because the economic cooperation program with
China he promoted threatened it's military status.

Zachary Keck, Assistant Editor
for Japans 'Diplomat' commented.
Kim Jong-un forced Beijing to make concessions
by purging Jang from within the party.
It also believes that relations between China
and North Korea are controlled by North Korea.

According to information from South Korean intelligence,
the execution might be because Jang supported Kim Jong's
eldest son Kim Jong Nam, in replacing Kim Jong-un.
Kim is currently in exile in Macao, China.

"KCNA" Jang was accused of being
a traitor, with specific examples cited;
"letting cronies sell coal and other
valuable underground resources";
"take out huge sums of money from the bank
to buy precious metals and make a big mess
of the country's financial management system";
and "selling the land of Rason economic and trade
zone to foreign country for a period of 50-years".

These objects of transaction involved the Chinese authorities.
The "Rason economic and trade zone" was
co-managed and co-developed by China and North Korea.

Xia Ming: "North Korea suspects that
the CCP wants to fully control them.
The CCP suspects that they will have trouble,
if they don't listen to the Chinese regime.
Such suspicion has increased."

Since Kim Jong-un took power in 2011,
Beijing has avoided direct dialogue with
Kim Jong-un, but contacted him through Jang.
Jang was repeatedly sent as an ambassador to China.

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