US warns North Korea against provocations

December 15, 2013 - 10:36:59 am
SEOUL: The United States has warned North Korea against any “provocative acts” following the shock execution of leader Kim Jong-Un’s uncle, as the reclusive state campaigned to rally support behind the young supremo.

Washington also sought to step up talks with its Asian allies, voicing concern over regional stability after Jang Song-Thaek — seen as Kim’s political regent and the country’s unofficial number two — was executed on Thursday following a special military trial.

“Certainly, it’s something we’re concerned about, and we would urge the North Koreans not to take provocative acts, not to do so going forward, because it’s not in the interest of regional stability,” US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Friday.

The comments came after South Korea’s defence chief Kim Kwan-Jin pledged to increase military vigilance against any potential provocations, saying the stunning purge indicated Kim Jong-Un’s firm resolve to tighten his grip on power.

“We will heighten readiness against North Korea as (Jang’s execution) can lead to provocations against the South,” he said in the parliamentary defence meeting on Friday.

He said the Stalinist regime risked misjudging the security situation on the peninsula, voicing concern over rivalry among North Korean military leaders eager to prove their loyalty to the young leader.

Meanwhile, the reclusive state yesterday launched a fresh media blitz in a bid to rationalise Jang’s elimination and rally support behind the young leader.

Rodong Sinmun, the official daily, splashed on its front page a colour photo of Kim, wearing a great coat with his hands in his pockets, touring a military design institute in his first public activity following the purge.

He was accompanied by Choe Ryong-Hae, a close Kim Jong-Un confidant who holds the military rank of vice marshal, and trailed by other military officers.

The inspection trip was apparently aimed at displaying the young Kim’s continued stranglehold on power after the shocking elimination of Jang.

AFP

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