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North Korea executes leader Kim Jong-Un's uncle Jang Song Thaek, branding him traitor

By Claire Cromie

The uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been executed, state news agency KCNA reports.

Jang Song Thaek was the country's second most powerful official until he was purged from his position earlier this week on allegations of corruption, drug use and a long list of other "anti-state" acts.

Now the agency has announced his death, branding him a "traitor" who was "worse than a dog".

It says Mr Jang was executed on Thursday shortly after a special military trial.

He was dramatically removed from a Communist Party session by armed guards earlier this week, accused of forming factions against the state.

The purge ended the career of the country's second most powerful official and his execution leaves Kim Jong Un without a man long considered his mentor as he consolidated power after his father's death two years ago.

Jang Song Thaek formed a faction in the ruling party "by creating an illusion about him" and distorting and weakening party goals, a previous KCNA dispatch said.

Mr Jang was described as "abusing his power," being "engrossed in irregularities and corruption," having "improper relations with women", taking drugs, and gambling at casinos while undergoing medical treatment in a foreign country.

South Korean intelligence officials said last week that two of Mr Jang's aides had been executed for corruption, and a recent state documentary in the North had all images of Mr Jang removed.

Some analysts see the purge as a sign of Kim Jong Un's growing confidence, but there has also been fear in Seoul that the removal of such an important part of the North's government - seen by outsiders as the leading supporter of Chinese-style economic reforms - could create dangerous instability or lead to a miscalculation or attack on the South.

Tensions are still high on the Korean Peninsula following a torrent of threats in March and April by Kim Jong Un's government against Washington, Seoul and Tokyo, including vows of missile and nuclear strikes and warnings that Pyongyang would restart nuclear bomb fuel production.

Mr Jang was married to Kim Jong Un's aunt, Kim Kyong Hui, the younger sister of Kim Jong Il.

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