N. Korea's Kim hails execution of powerful uncle

N. Korea's Kim hails execution of powerful uncle

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on Wednesday hailed the recent execution of his powerful uncle Jang Song-Thaek, saying it had helped cement unity among his people.

Kim, in his New Year message broadcast on state TV, described the purge of a "faction" within the party as a "resolute action," in his first public remarks about Jang since his shock execution on December 12.

"Our party took a resolute action to remove... scum elements within the party last year," Kim said, repeating the party's earlier accusation against Jang of trying to build his own powerbase.

"Our party's timely, accurate decision to purge the anti-party, anti-revolutionary elements helped greatly cement unity of the party and the revolution and strengthened our solidarity by 100 times," he said.

Jang, once the communist country's unofficial number two and Kim's political mentor, was executed on a range of charges including plotting a coup and corruption.

The 67-year-old played a key role in cementing the leadership of the inexperienced Kim, who took power after the death of his father and long-time ruler, Kim Jong-Il, in December 2011.

But Jang's growing political power and influence drew resentment from his nephew barely half of his age, analysts said.

Jang's purge also stemmed from political battles among Pyongyang officials to control the country's lucrative coal trade business once dominated by Jang, Seoul's spy chief said last week.

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