China calls ouster of N. Korean leader's uncle 'internal affair'

2013-12-09 08:38:54 GMT2013-12-09 16:38:54(Beijing Time)

China said Monday responded to the ouster of the powerful uncle of North Korea's leader, calling it the North's "internal affair."

North Korea confirmed earlier in the day that Jang Song-thaek, considered the second most powerful official after the North's young leader Kim Jong-un, was dismissed from office, accusing him of building a "counter-revolutionary faction" and other "criminal acts" including womanizing.

Asked about the purge of the 67-year-old Jang, China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, "We have noted the relevant situation, (but) that is an internal affair."

"China will stay committed to maintaining traditionally friendly relations with the DPRK (North Korea)," Hong said.

Early last week, South Korea's National Intelligence Service said Jang had been apparently dismissed from all of his posts and two of his close aides publicly executed.

Some analysts view Jang's purge as a sign that Kim, believed to be around 30, is further consolidating his grip on power, but others say that it could incite a power struggle in the North's hierarchy.

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