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North Korea releases photos of Kim Jong-un's uncle being arrested

Updated: 2013-12-10 (KST)
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These are the photos of the biggest upheaval in North Korean leadership since Kim Jong-un assumed power two years ago.
Released by the North's state-run Korean Central Television on Monday, the images show Jang Song-thaek, the young North Korean leader's uncle, being arrested by two military officers at an assembly of the Worker's Party Politburo.
Jang, who was once considered the second most powerful man in North Korea with multiple high-ranking positions, appears to have been arrested on the spot after his crimes were announced and after party officials adopted a written verdict.
Before the images were released, the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency officially confirmed that Jang had been expelled, accusing him of trying to form a faction within the party by increasing his power and building his own base.
This is the first time since 1970 that the North has released pictures of a senior official being arrested.
Experts say Jang's dismissal is the last phase of the young leader's power consolidation, saying that Kim has removed all of the old guards that had been close to his father and that he is now solidifying his own inner circle.
With his uncle gone, Kim may see his regime backtrack in its efforts towards economic reform, one of Kim's key policy goals.
Seen as an economic reformer, Jang was more aware of market forces than his nephew and usually handled talks with China, North Korea's only major ally.
Some also warn of an escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula, as the regime has launched provocations as a means of maintaining internal unity in the past pointing to a possible fourth nuclear test or a missile launch.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.

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