Business Rivalries Apparenly Led to North Korean Purge

According to intelligence from South Korea


SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea's intelligence chief said Monday that Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, who was executed this month, apparently had not plotted a coup as Pyongyang had said, but had fallen victim to intrigue within the country's elite over lucrative business deals, according to lawmakers in Seoul.

Mr. Jang, 67, who was once believed to be the second most powerful man in North Korea, was executed on Dec. 12 on charges of plotting to overthrow his nephew's government, four days after he was hauled out of a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party at which he was stripped of all titles. The highly unusual public purge and execution of a member of the North's ruling family has set off widespread speculation about the possibility of a power struggle within the secretive regime.