Jang Song Thaek was purged and executed because he met privately with Kim Jong Un’s older brother Kim Jong Nam, Professor Kang Myong-do said on Friday.
Professor Kang, who teaches at Kyungmin University and is the son-in-law of former North Korean premier Kang Song San, told YTN that Jang Song Thaek had travelled overseas to give Kim Jong Nam his monthly living expenses in October, a journey that had made Kim Jong Un suspicious that Jang was plotting to replace him.
Kang told YTN that “Kim Jong Un, who had been watching Jang since last year, found out, and he thought Jang was trying to enthrone Kim Jong Nam… that’s why he executed him”.
“Kim Jong Un has been trying to assassinate Kim Jong Nam many times,” he argued, “but he failed because Kim Jong Nam was under China and Jang Song Thaek’s protection. Some North Korean agents Kim Jong Un sent were even arrested”.
“Jang was trying to find aides to tell people if you cooperate with Jang, you can remove Kim Jong Un,” he said, “when Jang takes power, North Korea can give up nuclear and find new relations with South Korea”.
It was not immediately clear how Kang was informed about Jang’s meeting with Kim or whether the source can be relied upon.
Kim Jong Nam was widely tipped to be his father’s successor until 2001, when he tried to enter Japan using a fake passport in order to visit Disneyland. He is now believed to live in Macau with his wives and children.
His son Kim Han Sol has made some well-publicized media appearances criticizing his uncle and grandfather.
The reasons and methods of Jang Song Thaek’s execution are still widely disputed, with Seo Sang-kee, a lawmaker and head of the South Korean legislature’s Intelligence Committee, saying that Jang was likely executed by machine gun, just as his two aides were probably killed the week prior.
North Korea publicized Jang’s trial and execution with dramatic front page coverage, news broadcasts and radio.
Additional reporting by Tae-jun Kang in Hong Kong
Picture: NK News