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N.K. leader visits military institute after executing uncle

N.K. leader visits military institute after executing uncle

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Published : 2013-12-14 12:36
Updated : 2013-12-14 13:25

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (front row, second from right) walks with his aides. (Yonhap News)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently inspected a military institute for design in what was Kim’s first public activity since the execution of his uncle, the reclusive nation’s state media said on Saturday.

Kim appeared to be determined to showcase his determination to keep a firm grip on the military, according to those watching the situation, as the visit most likely occurred on Friday, one day after Jang Song-thaek was purged for treason. 

As the uncle of Kim, Jang was once known as the second most powerful man in the North.

The Korean Central News Agency said during the North Korean leader’s tour of the Designing Institute of the Korean People’s Army, Kim talked of how construction plays a critical role in building a civilized socialist country.

“It is the firm determination of the party to create a new history of construction in Songun Korea,” the KCNA quoted Kim as saying during the visit, referring to the North’s ruling Workers’ Party and its military-first “songun” policy.

Kim also instructed the institute to “play a pioneer’s role in the drive to develop the present heyday in construction into a period of great prosperity.”

The North Korean leader was accompanied on his visit by Choe Ryong-hae, director of the General Political Bureau of the KPA; Jang Jong-nam, minister of the People's Armed Forces; and Hwang Pyong-so, vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, the KCNA said, prompting speculation of a new distribution of power within the regime.

Meanwhile, the North Korean press is busy churning out news such as interviews with Pyongyang citizens supporting the state's decision to execute Jang in order to justify the latest purge. 
By Kim Ji-hyun and news reports   (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)

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