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Jang Song Taek

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BUSINESS
August 15, 2012 | By David Pierson, Los Angeles Times
BEIJING - China and North Korea are speeding development of two special economic zones in a bid to shore up North Korea's crumbling economy. Chinese state media reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle Jang Song Taek met with Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming this week to sign agreements over development of the trade zones, which are on the border with China. China is North Korea's chief ally, providing aid and anchoring a $5.7-billion trade relationship. North Korea, which is under United Nations sanctions because of its nuclear weapons program, has an economy valued at about $40 billion.
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WORLD
April 15, 2014 | By Steven Borowiec
SEOUL -- North Korea on Tuesday celebrated the birthday of its founder, Kim Il Sung, with current leader Kim Jong Un reportedly paying respects at his grandfather's mausoleum amid efforts to more closely associate him with the late leader's legacy. Kim Il Sung would have turned 102 this year, and his birthday, known as the Day of the Sun, is a major holiday in North Korea. Since his death in 1994, the day has been celebrated with pageantry and displays of military hardware in the capital, Pyongyang.
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WORLD
December 12, 2013 | By Barbara Demick and Jung-Yoon Choi
BEIJING - Jang Song Taek, the uncle by marriage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was executed for attempting to seize power for himself, the official news service reported early Friday. In a rambling report, the Korea Central News Agency denounced the "despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog," and said he had attempted to "overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power. " PHOTOS: Kim Jong Un uncle labeled traitor The execution, after a trial this week by a military tribunal, is the most public purge of a top echelon official in North Korea in decades and raises concern about the increasingly erratic leadership of 30-year-old Kim Jong Un, believed to be the world's youngest head of state.
OPINION
March 14, 2014 | By James Romm
This week, as the Ides of March approaches - the March 15 anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar, a determined but ultimately fruitless attempt by Roman senators to stop their government from sliding toward dictatorship - the minds of some ancient historians may turn in a seemingly unlikely direction: toward modern North Korea. The dark and menacing regime of Kim Jong Un seems a long way off from the Augustan "Golden Age" of ancient Rome, an era that produced art and literature still admired today.
WORLD
June 8, 2010 | By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law was elevated Monday to the second-most powerful position in the leadership, a reshuffling of personnel intended to consolidate the ruling family's grip on the country. The promotion of Jang Song Taek, 64, long believed to be one of the most powerful men behind the scenes in North Korea, was announced after an unexpected meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly, presided over by the ailing Kim. A longtime family confidant, 81-year-old Choe Yong Rim, was named prime minister, a largely ceremonial post.
WORLD
December 13, 2013 | By Barbara Demick and Jung-yoon Choi
BEIJING - It is North Korea's version of a youth revolution, and it's making a lot of people nervous. At 30, Kim Jong Un may well be the world's youngest head of state. His brother, Kim Jong Chul, two years older, is best known as an avid Eric Clapton fan but is also said to keep an eye on the leader's security. And the youngest of the Swiss-educated siblings, 26-year-old sister Kim Yo Jong, is seen frequently as an aide-de-camp to the leader. With Thursday's execution of their uncle, Jang Song Taek, and the purge of his cronies, this impatient new generation of the Kim family dynasty appears to be kicking out the adults.
WORLD
February 15, 2014 | By Barbara Demick
YANJI, China - She was a North Korean success story. For more than two decades, the woman, now 50, dabbled in various businesses at the border between China and North Korea. She sold rice. She traded foreign currency. She opened a massage parlor in China. She traveled between the two countries with relative ease and was making sufficient money to live comfortably, so much so that she rebuffed invitations to join her sister, who had defected to South Korea. But the woman, who didn't want her name used out of fear for her safety, has changed her thinking about the future since the December execution of Jang Song Taek, the uncle by marriage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Jang, 67, was long viewed as a champion of free enterprise within the nominally communist state, and his purge has rattled many North Koreans.
WORLD
January 8, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - Dennis Rodman helped Kim Jong Un mark his 31st birthday Wednesday with sport and song, serenading the North Korean dictator with a warbly rendition of “Happy Birthday” in a Pyongyang gymnasium and then leading fellow ex-NBA players in a game against a local squad. Spectators were not allowed to bring cameras into the modestly appointed arena, but video posted later online showed Rodman in sunglasses leading the crowd - many of them in sport coats and dress shirts - in a singing tribute to “The Marshal.” Then the Americans, in blue and white uniforms, faced off against the North Koreans, or the “Torch Team,” in red. Simon Cockerell, a tour guide with Beijing-based Koryo tours who is traveling with Rodman's group, described the event as a “bizarre and unusual occasion.” In a video dispatch from Pyongyang posted to Koryo's Facebook page, he said the teams played two 10-minute halves, with the North Koreans prevailing at the final buzzer (by a score of 47-39, according to Associated Press)
WORLD
December 13, 2013 | By Barbara Demick and Jung-yoon Choi
BEIJING -- One might call it North Korea's version of the youth revolution. There is Kim Jong Un, who at 30 is believed to be the world's youngest head of state. His brother, Kim Jong Chul, two years older, whose main claim to fame is as an avid Eric Clapton fan. And the youngest of the Swiss-educated trio, 26-year-old sister Kim Yo Jong, is seen frequently as an aide de camp to the new leader. With Thursday's execution of their uncle, Jang Song Taek, and the purge of his cronies, the kids look to be in effect kicking out the adults.
WORLD
December 3, 2013 | By Jung-Yoon Choi and Barbara Demick, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, the Pyongyang regime's de facto No. 2 official, has probably been ousted from his posts, South Korea's state spy agency said Tuesday. In a report released at a meeting with lawmakers, the National Intelligence Service said that two close confidants of 67-year-old Jang Song Taek appear to have been publicly executed in late November for “anti-party activities. " The intelligence agency concluded that the executions of Ri Yong-Ha and Jang Soo - Kil couldn't have taken place unless Jang, holding the position of vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, had lost his job. Jang is the husband of the late leader Kim Jong Il's only full sibling, Kim Kyung Hui, and held a position in the secretive family hierarchy tantamount to regent after Kim Jong Il died in December 2011, leaving the not-yet-30-year-old Kim Jong Un in charge.
WORLD
February 17, 2014 | By Julie Makinen and Barbara Demick
BEIJING - Torture, deliberate starvation and other abuses carried out by North Korean authorities - possibly on the orders of leader Kim Jong Un - are crimes against humanity and should be referred to an international court or tribunal for prosecution, United Nations investigators said Monday. A 400-page report catalogs practices long cited by defectors and human rights activists, but their inclusion in a comprehensive document compiled by a U.N.-appointed panel appears to be unprecedented.
WORLD
February 15, 2014 | By Barbara Demick
YANJI, China - She was a North Korean success story. For more than two decades, the woman, now 50, dabbled in various businesses at the border between China and North Korea. She sold rice. She traded foreign currency. She opened a massage parlor in China. She traveled between the two countries with relative ease and was making sufficient money to live comfortably, so much so that she rebuffed invitations to join her sister, who had defected to South Korea. But the woman, who didn't want her name used out of fear for her safety, has changed her thinking about the future since the December execution of Jang Song Taek, the uncle by marriage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Jang, 67, was long viewed as a champion of free enterprise within the nominally communist state, and his purge has rattled many North Koreans.
WORLD
January 16, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
As the Lunar New Year and annual U.S.-South Korea war games approach, North Korea's erratic leader has issued both an appeal for a moratorium on "slander" between the Korean governments and a warning that the military exercises could provoke "unimaginable holocaust. " North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last year threatened to wage nuclear war against the South and its U.S. backers over the exercises, sharpening tensions in the region with a declaration that Pyongyang was no longer bound by the 60-year-old truce that ended fighting in the Korean War. Though Kim's government never followed through on its threats to target the U.S. mainland with nuclear missiles, Washington and its East Asian allies remain concerned and vigilant regarding North Korea.
WORLD
January 8, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - Dennis Rodman helped Kim Jong Un mark his 31st birthday Wednesday with sport and song, serenading the North Korean dictator with a warbly rendition of “Happy Birthday” in a Pyongyang gymnasium and then leading fellow ex-NBA players in a game against a local squad. Spectators were not allowed to bring cameras into the modestly appointed arena, but video posted later online showed Rodman in sunglasses leading the crowd - many of them in sport coats and dress shirts - in a singing tribute to “The Marshal.” Then the Americans, in blue and white uniforms, faced off against the North Koreans, or the “Torch Team,” in red. Simon Cockerell, a tour guide with Beijing-based Koryo tours who is traveling with Rodman's group, described the event as a “bizarre and unusual occasion.” In a video dispatch from Pyongyang posted to Koryo's Facebook page, he said the teams played two 10-minute halves, with the North Koreans prevailing at the final buzzer (by a score of 47-39, according to Associated Press)
WORLD
December 19, 2013 | By Jung-yoon Choi
SEOUL -- A high-ranking North Korean military officer said to be a close confidant of the recently executed uncle of ruler Kim Jong Un is in South Korean custody in China, South Korean media reported Thursday. Several South Korean media outlets, citing anonymous intelligence officials, said the unnamed military officer was being questioned in a South Korean diplomatic office in Beijing. According to 24-hour news channel YTN, the former aide to Jang Song Taek anticipated the purge of his boss and sought to defect at the end of September.
WORLD
December 16, 2013 | By Jung-yoon Choi
SEOUL -- Leading up to the second anniversary of the death of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the Kim family has reappeared in public, only a few days after the reported execution of the current leader's uncle. Following the announcement of Jang Song Taek's execution on Friday, Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader of the reclusive state, made a series of appearances after being absent from the public eye for more than two weeks.  Over the weekend and on Monday morning, the North's state media continuously reported on what Pyongyang has dubbed "field guidance" trips by Kim. The state media service released several photos of Kim visiting a military design institute, a lavish ski resort and a fish factory on unknown dates.
WORLD
December 19, 2013 | By Jung-yoon Choi
SEOUL -- A high-ranking North Korean military officer said to be a close confidant of the recently executed uncle of ruler Kim Jong Un is in South Korean custody in China, South Korean media reported Thursday. Several South Korean media outlets, citing anonymous intelligence officials, said the unnamed military officer was being questioned in a South Korean diplomatic office in Beijing. According to 24-hour news channel YTN, the former aide to Jang Song Taek anticipated the purge of his boss and sought to defect at the end of September.
WORLD
January 16, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams
As the Lunar New Year and annual U.S.-South Korea war games approach, North Korea's erratic leader has issued both an appeal for a moratorium on "slander" between the Korean governments and a warning that the military exercises could provoke "unimaginable holocaust. " North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last year threatened to wage nuclear war against the South and its U.S. backers over the exercises, sharpening tensions in the region with a declaration that Pyongyang was no longer bound by the 60-year-old truce that ended fighting in the Korean War. Though Kim's government never followed through on its threats to target the U.S. mainland with nuclear missiles, Washington and its East Asian allies remain concerned and vigilant regarding North Korea.
OPINION
December 16, 2013 | By Scott Snyder
When a political crisis hits Pyongyang, the leadership's normal antidote is to hide the real drama in rumors and shadows while assuring the world that outside forces are no match for North Korea's spirit of "single-hearted unity. " But North Korea's real-time media coverage of the vituperative public denunciation and execution of Jang Song Taek, the uncle by marriage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has exposed deep divisions within the Kim family leadership and has shocked North Koreans and outsiders alike with its suddenness and its brutality.
WORLD
December 13, 2013 | By Barbara Demick and Jung-yoon Choi
BEIJING -- One might call it North Korea's version of the youth revolution. There is Kim Jong Un, who at 30 is believed to be the world's youngest head of state. His brother, Kim Jong Chul, two years older, whose main claim to fame is as an avid Eric Clapton fan. And the youngest of the Swiss-educated trio, 26-year-old sister Kim Yo Jong, is seen frequently as an aide de camp to the new leader. With Thursday's execution of their uncle, Jang Song Taek, and the purge of his cronies, the kids look to be in effect kicking out the adults.
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