U.S. gov't mum on ouster of N. Korean leader's uncle

2013-12-10 06:15:40 GMT2013-12-10 14:15:40(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

While speculation is rampant over North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's intentions behind the sacking of his powerful uncle from all of his posts, the U.S. government kept mum Monday on the issue.

"We've seen the reports. But we do not have any comment," a State Department official said.

He said the department does not speak in public about such changes in North Korean leadership.

The department's silence marked a contrast with competitive analysis in the private sector of what's going on in North Korea and prospects for the policy direction of the country.

Alexandre Mansourov, a North Korea expert here, said the downfall of Jang Song-thaek, confirmed by the nation's official news agency, is the most significant political event so far in the history of the nation post-Kim Jong-il. Immediately after Kim's death in December 2011, his son, Kim Jong-un, took over power.

"Jang's sacking contributes to the cumulative evidence that the maturing leader continues to dismiss his elder guardians appointed by his father in order to clear the path for his own rule," said Mansourov, visiting scholar at the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Bruce Klingner, a senior researcher at the Heritage Foundation, said Jang's purge shows that Kim has firmly consolidated his grip over the nation.

It also shows that he is confident enough to remove even the most senior strata of North Korean leadership, added Klingner.


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