US warns N. Korea against provocation after execution
December 15, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
SEOUL -- The United States has warned North Korea against any “provocative acts” following the shock execution of leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, as the reclusive state campaigned to rally support behind the young supremo.
Washington also sought to step up talks with its Asian allies, voicing concern over regional stability after Jang Song Thaek — seen as Kim's political regent and the country's unofficial number two — was executed on Thursday following a special military trial.
“Certainly, it's something we're concerned about, and we would urge the North Koreans not to take provocative acts, not to do so going forward, because it's not in the interest of regional stability,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Friday.
The comments came after South Korea's defense chief Kim Kwan-jin pledged to increase military vigilance against any potential provocations, saying the stunning purge indicated Kim Jong Un's firm resolve to tighten his grip on power.
“We will heighten readiness against North Korea as (Jang's execution) can lead to provocations against the South,” he said in the parliamentary defense meeting on Friday.
“This case can be seen as part of the reign of terror by Kim Jong Un as he is seeking to consolidate his power with an iron fist.”
He said the Stalinist regime risked misjudging the security situation on the peninsula, voicing concern over rivalry among North Korean military leaders eager to prove their loyalty to the young leader.
Meanwhile, the reclusive state on Saturday launched a fresh media blitz in a bid to rationalize Jang's elimination and rally support behind the young leader.
Rodong Sinmun, the official daily, splashed on its front page a color photo of Kim, wearing a great coat with his hands in his pockets, touring a military design institute in his first public activity following the purge.
He was accompanied by Choe Ryong-Hae, a close Kim Jong Un confidant who holds the military rank of vice marshal, and trailed by other military officers, one of whom was seen jotting down Kim's “field guidance” instructions in his notebook.