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.
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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