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North Korea recalls business people from China

Just days after Jang Sung-taek’s execution, the North Korean business people have been recalled from China, says a South Korean report.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be purging associates of Jang Sung-taek, who was in charge of economic ties with China.

Kim Jong-un has been pictured by state media for the first time since the execution of his uncle Jang Sung-taek.

The South Korean government believes Kim Jong-un is trying to consolidate his power through a reign of terror.

The execution of Jang Sung-taek raised international concern about the stability of the nuclear-armed state.

North Korea has summoned back business people working out of the north-eastern Chinese cities of Shenyang and Dandong, sources told the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

They are in China to enhance bilateral trade and investment.

Kim Jong-un has been pictured by state media for the first time since the execution of his uncle Jang Sung-taek

Kim Jong-un has been pictured by state media for the first time since the execution of his uncle Jang Sung-taek

Another source told the agency Pyongyang planned to bring all officials and staff home from China in stages.

It appeared to be a crackdown on those perceived as loyal to Jang Sung-taek, Yonhap said.

It could also be another sign that Jang Sung-taek’s downfall reflected discomfort at his enthusiasm for Chinese-style economic reform.

There have been other reports over recent days about officials being recalled to North Korea from abroad.

South Korean intelligence officials say two of Jang Sung-taek’s closest aides were executed last month, and analysts suggest the purging of such a high-profile figure is unlikely to take place without a “ripple effect” – a purge of others linked to them.

Kim Jong-un was pictured in photographs released by state media for the first time since the dramatic execution of Jang Sung-taek on Thursday following a military trial.

He was shown touring a military design institute, trailed by military officers, many taking notes. Among them was Kim Jong-un’s personal envoy, Vice-Marshal Choe Ryong-hae.

The pictures appeared designed to demonstrate Kim Jong-un’s continuing hold on power and “business as usual” for the North Korean leadership, said commentators.

The images will also be scrutinized for clues to Kim Jong-un’s inner circle, analysts say.

Among those pictured in the latest photographs are believed Hwang Pyong-so, vice departmental director of Party Central Committee (not in military uniform), Choe Ryong-hae, vice-marshal of the armed forces, and Jang Jong-nam, the nation’s new defense minister.

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