In late 2013, Jang Song-thaek, an uncle of Kim Jong-un was taken to the Gang Gun Military Academy in a Pyongyang suburb. Hundreds of officials were gathered there to witness the execution of Mr. Jang’s two trusted deputies in the administrative department of the ruling Workers’ Party. Jang, widely considered the second-most powerful figure in the North, fainted during the ordeal, according to a new book published in South Korea that offers a rare glimpse into the secretive Pyongyang regime.
“Son-in-Law of a Theocracy,” by Ra Jong-yil, a former deputy director of the National Intelligence Service, is a rich biography of Jang Song-thaek, the most prominent victim of the purges his young nephew has conducted since assuming power in 2011.
Mr. Jang was convicted of treason in 2013, and was executed at the same place and in the same way as his deputies, the South Korean intelligence agency said.
The book asserts that although he was a fixture of the North Korean political elite for decades, he dreamed of reforming his country. “With his execution, North Korea lost virtually the only person there who could have helped the country introduce reform and openness,” Mr. Ra said during a recent interview. Continued