NORTH KOREA - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is expected to strengthen his reign of terror for the time being to tighten discipline among power elites following the ouster of his once-powerful uncle Jang Song-thaek.
In an unusual move on Monday, Pyongyang's state television showed Jang, once dubbed the No. 2 man in the North, being arrested for "anti-party, counter-revolutionary activities" during a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party.
Analysts argued that the TV scene foreshadowed more purges and tougher disciplinary action to solidify Kim's dictatorial governance. Jang's ouster came as a shock as many observers were sceptical about his downfall given the enormous clout he had accumulated in the party, military and government over four decades.
"Jang has installed his associates in many areas of the country. For the time being, those in the party, government and military, who are directly or indirectly connected to Jang, would be purged," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.
"Amid these purges, state control over power elites and his reign of terror are likely to be strengthened."
President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday expressed concerns that with the North Korean leader resorting to a coercive means of state governance, inter-Korean relations could become more unstable.
"While carrying out a large-scale purge (of officials) for the purpose of consolidating Kim Jong-un's power, the North is exercising a reign of terror. The inter-Korean ties could become shakier," she said during a Cabinet meeting at Cheong Wa Dae.
"At this time, the duty of the state and politicians representing the people is to safeguard the safety of our citizens and free democracy."
Amid growing signs of Kim's push for a stronger grip on power, Pyongyang's state media issued a series of articles and editorials that stressed Kim's absolute power and the public unity behind him.