Anyone worried about the volatility of North Korea is bound to be a lot more nervous.
Officials announced on Friday that they’d executed the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un, the country’s second most powerful figure.
The uncle, Jang Song Thaek, is thought to be the person who helped secure Kim’s position of power after the young ruler’s father died in 2011.
A statement released by the government-run Korean Central News Agency accused Jang of womanizing, drug use, gambling and eating at pricey restaurants, according to CNN. Officials called him “despicable human scum” and “worse than a dog.”
Victor Cha, a former White House director of Asian affairs and the Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told the Washington Post that the move didn’t hold any clear strategic significance.
“I don’t see any particular guile in what he’s doing,” she said. “He’s doing what dictators do, especially somebody young and inexperienced. He’s taking reckless action and doing things that are self-indulgent.”