March 9, 2014
Kerry says North Korea's leader reckless, ruthless
US Secretary of State John Kerry described North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as reckless and insecure after the execution of his powerful uncle, according to an ABC News interview.
The execution of Jan Song Thaek, who was considered the second most powerful man in the secretive country, showed why the world must make a united stand against North Korea's nuclear weapons program, Kerry said in the interview taped for broadcast on ABC's "This Week" program.
North Korean state media on Friday reported the execution of Jang. North Korea said earlier it had stripped Jang of his power and positions and accused him of criminal acts including mismanagement of the state financial system, womanizing and alcohol abuse.
North Korean politics are virtually impenetrable from outside and Jang also could easily have been purged over a falling out with Kim, or other personal reasons.
"It tells us a lot about, first of all, how ruthless and reckless he is," Kerry said of Kim in the ABC interview. "And it also tells us a lot about how insecure he is, to a certain degree.
"The insights that we have tell us that he is spontaneous, erratic, still worried about his place in the power structure, and maneuvering to eliminate any potential kind of adversary or competitor and does so obviously ruthlessly."
The top US diplomat, in some of the most detailed remarks of a US official since the news on Friday, said the execution was not the first under Kim's rule and pointed to the urgency of addressing the North Korean nuclear state.
"It tells us a significant amount about the instability internally of the regime, with the numbers of executions," Kerry said. "It's an ominous sign of the instability and of the danger that does exist."