- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 2, 2014

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday praised the recent execution of his powerful uncle, Jang Song Thaek, saying it brought “single-hearted unity” to the hermit kingdom’s regime.

“In the seething period of the effort for building a thriving country last year, we took the resolute measure of removing the factionalists lurking in the [Workers’] Party,” Kim said in a New Year’s address, according to state-run media.

“As our Party detected and purged the anti-Party, counterrevolutionary factionalists at an opportune time and with a correct decision, the Party and revolutionary ranks were further consolidated and our single-hearted unity was solidified to the maximum,” he said.

Jang was regarded, until recently, as North Korea’s second-most powerful man. Kim had his uncle very publicly purged from the party and subsequently executed last month on charges for treason, CNN reported.

Kim’s speech on Wednesday was the first time he commented on the happenings of his uncle. He also addressed nuclear tensions between the two Koreas and the involvement of the United States.

“The U.S. and South Korean war maniacs have deployed legions of equipment for a nuclear war in and around the Korean Peninsula and are going frantic in their military exercises for a nuclear war against the North,” he said. “This precipitates a critical situation where any accidental military skirmish may lead to an all-out war.”

“Should another war break out on this land, it will result in a deadly nuclear catastrophe and the United States will never be safe,” he said, CNN reported.

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