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Korea, North

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Flag of North Korea
Index
  1. Korea, North Main Page
  2. Partition of Korea Leads to War
  3. Famine Overshadows Nuclear Ambitions
  4. Secretive Government Opens Up in Exchange for Aid
  5. Kim Jong Il and U.S. President Bush Engage in Diplomatic Roller Coaster
  6. North and South Korea Establish Closer Ties
  7. Uncertainty Surrounding Nuclear Program Continues
  8. Tension Between North and South Reaches Crisis Point
  9. Kim Jong-il Dies
  10. Kim Jong-un Launches Satellite and Tests Nuclear Device, Testing International Patience
  11. North Korea Threatens U.S., South Korea with War
  12. Reported Leadership Shuffle Sparks Concern
Reported Leadership Shuffle Sparks Concern

In December 2013, Kim Jong-un sacked his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, and other government and military leaders held over from his father's rule. When Kim took power, Jang was assigned to supervise and advise Kim and was considered the second most powerful figure in the country. The Korean Central News Agency said Jang was ousted for heavy drinking, womanizing, challenging the leadership of Kim, and selling resources below market value. Days later, on Dec. 13, North Korea announced that Jang had been executed for attempting a coup. Jang "persistently plotted to spread his evil design into the military, believing that he could overthrow the leadership if he could mobilize the military," the news agency reported. It was an extraordinary show of transparency from the world's most secretive societies. The upheaval could signal Kim's attempt to put his own handprint on the government—or a power struggle. Observers feared the repercussions if a power struggle led to further instability.

About 360 South Koreans, mostly elderly, traveled to North Korea in February 2014 to meet with relatives from whom they were separated when the Korean Peninsula split after World War II. The reunions, the first since 2010, were part of an effort to improve ties between the North and the South, which have further deteriorated over the status of North Korea's nuclear program.

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