NKIDP Coordinator James Person Publishes in National Interest

Jan 06, 2014

NKIDP Coordinator James Person recently published an essay in the National Interest titled "North Korea's Purges Past." In the article, Person provides historical context for understanding Kim Jong Un's purge and execution of Jang Song Thaek. He draws on archival materials produced by North Korea's former communist allies to review the purges of 1953, 1956, and 1967 and compares these episodes to the removal of Jang in 2013. Person concludes,

what is clear is that Jang’s execution is a shocking development, reversing a trend to simply exile alleged “factionalists.” Maybe Kim Jong Un does not yet feel as secure as his forebear did in 1956 and 1967 when he considered it sufficient to exile his opponents. Or maybe, like his grandfather who ordered the execution of Pak Heonyeong just after the Korean War, he believed that Jang Song Taek was too much of a threat, even in captivity.

To read the article, click here to be redirected to the website of National Interest.

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Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • James Person // Deputy Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Charles Kraus // Program Assistant
  • Roy O. Kim // Program Assistant