Published December 24, 2013
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was reportedly “very drunk” when he ordered the recent execution of two aides close to his uncle Jang Song-thaek.
The pair, according to a report in The Independent citing Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, questioned an order from the North Korean leader to transfer control of a business to the military. Kim was reportedly angered when they said they needed to check with “Director Jang” first before finalizing the switch.
Kim’s once-powerful uncle, who was executed last week, was the former head of the ruling Workers’ Party administrative department. His close aides – first deputy Ri Ryong-ha and deputy Jang Su-gil – were among the first prominent figures to be executed late last month. Kim was “very drunk” when he ordered they be killed, Yomiuri Shimbun reports.
The two executions led South Korean government officials to believe Jang’s eventual death was “inevitable,” the newspaper reports.
At least eight people from Jang’s inner circle were killed in the power purge, including the director himself.
Meanwhile, former basketball star Dennis Rodman left North Korea on Monday after finalizing plans to bring 11 other former NBA players to Pyongyang for a Jan. 8 exhibition game marking Kim Jon Un’s birthday. The two struck up a friendship when Rodman first traveled to the secretive state earlier this year, but Rodman did not answer questions from the media on whether he had met with Kim this time. Rodman is the highest profile American to meet Kim since the leader inherited power from his father in late 2011.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.