|Kim Jong-un [right] with his now disgraced uncle in happier times.|
(Apologies for the repeat, but I love this joke.)
First Kim Jong-il's death and now the purge of Kim Jong-un's uncle and acting regent, Jang Songthaek (mentioned yesterday). Why do major upheavals in North Korea always happen during finals?
Since I don't have the time to synthesize this into a neat little package full of contrarian predictions, I'll just add a link or two for now. For starters, here is the Korea Central News Agencies report on the purge (it's long, tldr, in fact, but I urge you to at least look at the bold-face and then read my notes below):
The Jang Song Thaek group, however, committed such anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts as gnawing at the unity and cohesion of the party and disturbing the work for establishing the party unitary leadership system and perpetrated such ant-state, unpopular crimes as doing enormous harm to the efforts to build a thriving nation and improve the standard of people's living.I think they really hate this Jang guy.
Jang pretended to uphold the party and leader but was engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams and involving himself in double-dealing behind the scene.
Though he held responsible posts of the party and state thanks to the deep political trust of the party and leader, he committed such perfidious acts as shunning and obstructing in every way the work for holding President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in high esteem for all ages, behaving against the elementary sense of moral obligation and conscience as a human being.
Jang desperately worked to form a faction within the party by creating illusion about him and winning those weak in faith and flatterers to his side.
Prompted by his politically-motivated ambition, he tried to increase his force and build his base for realizing it by implanting those who had been punished for their serious wrongs in the past period into ranks of officials of departments of the party central committee and units under them.
Jang and his followers did not sincerely accept the line and policies of the party, the organizational will of the WPK, but deliberately neglected their implementation, distorted them and openly played down the policies of the party. In the end, they made no scruple of perpetrating such counter-revolutionary acts as disobeying the order issued by the supreme commander of the Korean People's Army.
The Jang group weakened the party's guidance over judicial, prosecution and people's security bodies, bringing very harmful consequences to the work for protecting the social system, policies and people.
Such acts are nothing but counter-revolutionary, unpopular criminal acts of giving up the class struggle and paralyzing the function of popular democratic dictatorship, yielding to the offensive of the hostile forces to stifle the DPRK.
Jang seriously obstructed the nation's economic affairs and the improvement of the standard of people's living in violation of the pivot-to-the-Cabinet principle and the Cabinet responsibility principle laid down by the WPK.
The Jang group put under its control the fields and units which play an important role in the nation's economic development and the improvement of people's living in a crafty manner, making it impossible for the economic guidance organs including the Cabinet to perform their roles.
By throwing the state financial management system into confusion and committing such act of treachery as selling off precious resources of the country at cheap prices, the group made it impossible to carry out the behests of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on developing the industries of Juche iron, Juche fertilizer and Juche vinalon.
Affected by the capitalist way of living, Jang committed irregularities and corruption and led a dissolute and depraved life.
By abusing his power, he was engrossed in irregularities and corruption, had improper relations with several women and was wined and dined at back parlors of deluxe restaurants.
Ideologically sick and extremely idle and easy-going, he used drugs and squandered foreign currency at casinos while he was receiving medical treatment in a foreign country under the care of the party.
Jang and his followers committed criminal acts baffling imagination and they did tremendous harm to our party and revolution.
The ungrateful criminal acts perpetrated by the group of Jang Song Thaek are lashing our party members, service personnel of the People's Army and people into great fury as it committed such crimes before they observed two-year mourning for Kim Jong Il, eternal general secretary of the WPK.
Speeches were made at the enlarged meeting.
There is so much intrigue to digest from that journalistic tirade, and pundits and politicos will be chewing on that for quite some time. At least until finals are over and I'm done Christmas shopping.
I myself would only like to draw your attention to the item I boldfaced, about North Korean resources being sold off to China on the cheap. That right there represents an increasingly public Pyongyang-Beijing rift that, I believe, is going to be the pivot around which most future events turn. At the very least, it tells us that North Korea is resisting being part of the Manchurianization of North Korea, and that may be a good thing. (China trying to integrate North Korea into an economically developing Northeast Asia economic sphere and thus fundamentally altering the regime in Pyongyang may be a good thing, but trying to swallow it up and turn it into a satellite state or Inner Chaoxian Autonomous Prefecture would be a disaster.)
In the meantime, though, I encourage you to read Joshua Stanton's analysis at One Free Korea (here and here), as well as The Marmot's Hole's analysis of what kind of drugs and what kind of hookers Jang was using.