Kim Jong-Un's 'traitor' uncle Jang Song Thaek had been North Korea's No. 2

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SummaryThe execution of leader Kim Jong-Un's uncle Jang Song Thaek marks the unprecedented fall from grace of one of the most powerful figures in North Korea and the most serious political upheaval in the country in decades.

The execution of leader Kim Jong-Un's uncle Jang Song Thaek marks the unprecedented fall from grace of one of the most powerful figures in North Korea and the most serious political upheaval in the country in decades.

Jang Song Thaek, a native of the far northeastern border city of Chongjin who hailed from humble roots but was sharp enough to gain entry to prestigious Kim Il-Sung University in Pyongyang, rose from municipal bureaucrat to vice chairman of the National Defense Commission and member of the Political Bureau _ posts that put him in second in power only to Kim Jong-Un.

A well-traveled diplomat with a network that spread to China, Jang was considered the chief architect of economic policy that focused on partnering with the neighbor and ally.

His ties to Kim Jong-Un were more than political: Jang was married to the leader's aunt, Kim Kyong Hui, and in late 2008, he was assumed to be serving in a regency role while the young heir, then in his late 20s, was being groomed to succeed father Kim Jong-Il. Jang often accompanied Kim Jong-Un on guidance trips, and stood at his elbow at public events.

Rumors of Jang's dismissal began surfacing in Seoul last week. On Sunday, he was fired from all posts at a special party meeting and dragged away by the arms by soldiers. Four days after his dramatic public arrest, Jang was tried for treason by a special military tribunal and executed Thursday, state media reported Friday. He was 67.

The list of crimes against Jang was long, with plotting to overthrow the leadership the most serious of the allegations. Jang confessed, according to state media.

For the outside world, the 2,700-word treatise ripping Jang's reputation to shreds provided an intriguing and revealing glimpse into the murky, feudalistic world of politics in the secretive country.

For North Koreans, the shocking public humiliation of a man seen as a father figure to Kim Jong-Un was designed to send a clear message about the intolerance of opposition in a totalitarian state that demands absolute loyalty to the leader.

It was a humiliating end to

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