Jang Seong Taek Execution Dominates South Korean News

Jang Seong Taek’s execution has occupied the front page in South Korea ever since the story broke of his sudden trial and purge from the ‘second-in-command’ role in North Korea. Blue House representatives have said that President Park Geun-hye is watching the security situation very carefully. Notably, Moon Jae-in, a leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, reacted to the execution by publicly stating on on December 14th, “North Korea cannot be called a civilized country”.

The latest editorial from the Rodong Sinmun on December 14th supported the execution, stating that “even if someone shares the flesh and blood of the Great Leader, they will be punished without hesitation“.

Articles about the execution and the public announcement on North Korean state media dominated online forums and the search engine rankings, as “Jang Seong Taek” was consistently the most searched term on Naver all week.

Article from Yonhap:

December 13th photo of the tribunal that sentenced Jang Seong Taek to death, photo from KCNA

December 13th photo of the tribunal that sentenced Jang Seong Taek to death, photo from KCNA

Reporter Jang Yonghun = Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on December 13th that Jang Song Taek was sentenced to death and immediately executed at a special military tribunal held on the 12th.

KCNA revealed that “a special military tribunal of the DPRK Ministry of State Security was held on December 12 against traitor for all ages Jang Song Taek” and “was immediately executed after being condemned to die under section 60 of the Republic’s penal code”.

Under section 60 of the penal code, an individual can face death for plotting to overthrow the state.

Four days after being branded an ‘anti-party counterrevolutionary actor’ and dragged from an expanded meeting of the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) Politburo on the 8th, Jang Song Taek’s life was ended on the execution ground.

Jang Seong Taek had played the role of ‘second in command’ for forty years, beginning in the 1970s, a time when late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was not yet in power. Tt seems likely that North Korea will see more extensive purges in the future.

According to KCNA, “The tribunal examined Jang’s crimes. All the crimes committed by the accused were proved in the course of the hearing and were admitted by him.” In addition, “The special military tribunal of the Ministry of State Security of the DPRK confirmed that the state subversion attempt by the accused Jang, which was aimed at overthrowing the people’s power of the DPRK by ideologically aligning himself with enemies, is a crime punishable by Article 60 of the DPRK Criminal Code.”

KCNA further reported , “(Jang Seong Taek) began revealing his true colors around the time of the historic change in leadership” and “Thinking that the succession problem was just the time for him to realize his wild ambition, he privately and openly committed regrettable acts of treason”

“Jang Seong Taek was consumed by political ambition and lost control, calculating that if he recruited an army, he could overthrow the government, and tenaciously maneuvered, intending to exert his evil influence on even The People’s Army.”

The report pointed out that Jang Seong Taek created an illusion and sought idolization, “leading to an important break with the Party’s monolithic leadership, and gathering the brown nosers and close associates who had been expelled” together in the central committee division and affiliated organizations, he “reigned with sacrosanct respect”, making his own division into a little kingdom.

Also, he intended to steal the supreme power of the party and nation, and “completely seized the country’s important economic sector, and by neutralizing the cabinet, schemed to drive the economy and people’s lives to the point where they couldn’t overcome the crisis.”

The report went on to say that, while Jang Song Taek deliberately disturbed the construction in Pyongyang, he abused his power by transferring major construction units to his confidants to that they might make money. He instructed his followers to sell coal and other underground resources, and even sold off the land of the Rason economic and trade zone to a foreign country for a period of five decades without any hesitation.

Jang Seong Taek has been identified as the man who was pulling the strings behind Pak Namgi’s execution in 2010, when Pak took responsibility for the failed currency reform.

Aside from this, the correspondence revealed that Jang “encouraged money-making under various pretexts to secure funds necessary for gratifying his political greed and was engrossed in irregularities and corruption,” “took the lead in spreading indolent, careless and undisciplined virus in our society,” “took a fabulous amount of funds from a bank and purchased precious metals,” and “let the decadent capitalist lifestyle find its way to our society.”

Comments from Naver:

[Note: these are the top comments from the more than 4,800 posted on the accompanying article]


It is always darkest just before the sun rises…. I hope a popular revolution occurs in North Korea.


They have no standards whatsoever, tsk.


I envy North Korea very much in this respect…. They execute people harmful to the nation, *makes you shiver*. I hope our country begins implementing the death penalty soon…..


That’s really scary. This is the true dictatorship. Those civil groups who claim the previous Lee Myung-bak and the current administration in our country are a dictatorship, why don’t you say something about this???


Jongpuk bastards, do you want something like this in our country? Lee Jeong-hee and Lee Seok-ki, go to North Korea.


North Korea is the land of Satan… That is nothing other than Hell…


No matter how loyal he was to the North Korean regime, this is how a henchman’s life ends, ke ke ke.

Footage broadcast on North Korean television on December 9th showed Taek's arrest during a meeting of the Korean Worker's Party Politburo meeting the previous day.

Footage broadcast on North Korean television on December 9th showed Taek’s arrest during a meeting of the Korean Worker’s Party Politburo meeting the previous day.


Do you Jongpuk trash leeching off South Korea see this? Jang Seong Taek’s end will be your end. Get ready.


Seok-ki, do you see it? That is your future.


Why did they even do a trial, ke. It was already determined to be the death penalty.


I hope we can send Jongpuk over to the North so North Korea can deal with them.


Jongpuk will be abandoned when they are not useful any more~~~ If Kim Jong-un takes over South Korea, they will be executed first~~~


Politicians and anti-government groups, please wake up after seeing this. Stop bullshitting that our democracy has regressed or disappeared. Stop complaining about the internet comment scandal. Democracy is well and alive in our country. We are indulged by our democracy. Stop putting the NIS on the chopping block and leave them alone so they can do their job. Stop bringing up the name of democracy for nothing. Politicians should stop baiting public opinion and start focusing on improving citizens’ lives.


Lefty commies, do you still think you can talk to North Korea with common sense, is that Priest Park Chang-shin who said South Korea deserved the bombardment of Yeongpyeong even a human?


Lee Seok-ki may change sides after reading this, hah. *makes you shiver*


Thus begins the reign of terror and dictatorship.. If South Korea was like North Korea, Moon Jae-in, Lee Seok-ki, Lee Jeong-hee, Kim Je-yeon, the Bus of Despair [‘the Bus of Hope’ originally], political priests, political monks…they would all be dead. They should be grateful that they can even breathe in this land.


Kim Jong-un, are you even human? You just end someone’s life on a whim.


I hope the two Koreas reunify soon.


The tough man is finally gone. It would be hard to prove that he actually committed any of those listed crimes. Of course, I don’t pity him at all.


Really scary…Just several weeks ago, he might have been the No. 2 figure in the country. Then he was killed for being a traitor. North Korea or not, it’s scary…

jay.h, Courtney Macer, Minjun Chen, Huw, Commander Kim, and Harald Olsen contributed to this article.

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  • ToBeHeardNotSeen

    I envy North Korea very much in this respect…. They execute people harmful to the nation, makes you tremble. I hope our country begins implementing the death penalty soon…..

    are you fucking high? omg

    • Sillian

      It’s a sarcastic comment about how hideous criminals are not properly punished in South Korea.

  • The most dangerous job in North Korea is being #2.

    • Adam R Sweet

      hi rex whats up

    • Akatosh

      and no. 3, because once no. 2 is gone, u r next

  • bumfromkorea

    When it comes to North Korea, always read what Dr. Lankov has to say about it first.


    • Mighty曹

      Great article! Thanks for the link.
      LOL@ “his weakness for exotic looking basketball players…”

  • bumfromkorea

    The flurry of “jongbuk” in the comments… the NIS agents are at it again, I guess. ;)

  • Adam R Sweet

    Best comment: “ke ke ke”

  • YourSupremeCommander

    Now you know why your Korean BBQ tasted slightly “different” the other day.

    • Mighty曹

      Everything tastes great with kimchi.

  • Mighty曹

    This puts to rest any hope that the younger fatty Kim would be less ruthless than his father.

    • chucky3176

      He’s even more ruthless than his father actually. The estimation is that over 30,000 people who supported Jang, will be rounded up and put into death work camps. Kim Jong Eun also detest the Chinese whom the North Koreans depend on as a life string. Jang was a supporter of Chinese style liberalization and did much business in China to bring hard currency to North Korea. The North Korean military weren’t too happy that he was taking all the cut, and his possible plans to liberalize North Korea. Kim Jong Eun and his military supporters don’t want North Korean people to eat too well, otherwise they can’t be controlled and cowed. North Korea is not poor because they can’t help it, they are poor out of North Korean government’s choice. By keeping the population poor, the Kim family and the 1% of the North Korean elite can live in luxury and in full power.

      • Mighty曹

        Commie tyrant.

        Btw, is there an article/link on the rounding up of the 30,000 supporters?

  • commander

    The spectacular fall from grace and alarming execution of Jang Song-thaek has inspured so many hypotheses about the internal dynamics and a future direction of North Korea.

    But the scenarios are so vastly different in predicting what future holds for Pyongyang, ranging from inceased instability in the poverty-struclen country from expected additional purges of the pro-Jang clique to the consolidated piwer base for Kim Jong-un who will install those loyal to him in high posts of the military and party.

    In my view, chances are slim that North Korea will stagevant arned provocation against South Korea. Regardless of the cpntroversy over whether the unusually public purge of his uncle solidifies his grip on power, North Korea can’t carrt out ant military operations against Seoul as the North’s top brass is more concerned about the future of their own and is busy figuring out whether another round of poitical purges will take place and whether they can be spared from a ‘killing list,’ which only exists in the mind of Kim Jong-un.

    Even if North Korea wants to rally its shaken leadership behind the 30-something leader, armed provocations against what they call are “hostile neighbors,” will be considered after the fallout from the political upheaval settles down.

    The provacation odds are much more diminished when considering any tension and the suspension of economic exchanges any provocation ignites will deal a blow to the leadership of Kim, who needs economic vitality to keep North Koreans live in an illuson of the greatness of its surpreme leader. China appears to take a wait and see attitude although there are reports of displeasure about Kim Jong-un’s unpredictable action.

    If North Korea takes a provocative step in additiom to the unsettling execution of Mr. Jamg, it only reinforces the feeling of China that it should not give a blank check to its wayward ally and that it needs to retain the substantial control to precluding North Korea-stirred tension from damaging regional stability, a factor essential for China’s sustainable growth.

    Thus, although it is good to brace for a worst case scenario with the maximum vigilance of the military as President Park said, it is unlikely that North Korea risks estrangement of its relationship with China, which Pyongyang hope will give more economic aid to stabilize Kim’s third-generatiion dynastic rule.

  • Kevin Blankenship

    A pretty thorough story of treason, does anyone else think the story was pretty oversold? They are revealing deep intent over a long timeline, this wreaks of a cover story by the state to lay all the blame on a scapegoat!! Poor bastard probably didn’t even see it coming! N. Korea has the goat to blame their own dysfunctional governments horrible leadership on! A totalitarian dysfunctional dictatorship that makes petty look magnanimous!! The little turd has nukes too, if he launches just one of those nukes kiss N. Korea and his regime bye they would finally be rid of all worldly concerns!!

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