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article imageNorth Korea's leader returns to public view with a vengeance

By Nathan Salant     Oct 30, 2014 in World
Seoul - He's baaaack; and there are some 10 senior leaders of the North Korea's ruling Workers Party who are not particularly happy about it.
North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, marked his return to public life Wednesday after a nearly six-week absence by announcing the executions of 10 party leaders presumably aligned with his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who was executed last year.
Kim's prolonged absence sparked speculation about serious health and political problems, but is now blamed on ankle surgery the reclusive leader underwent in September or October, according to Bloomberg News.
Kim had a cyst removed from his right ankle, Bloomberg said.
The news service said it learned about Kim's surgery from a top South Korean legislator, Lee Cheol Woo of the ruling Saenuri Party, who had come from a National Intelligence Service briefing in Seoul on Sunday.
The news service also said the party workers were executed on a variety of charges from graft to watching South Korean soap operas, citing remarks by a top Lee aide, Lim Dae Sung.
“Kim Jong Un is trying to establish absolute power and strengthen his regime with public punishments,” Yang Moo Jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, told the news service.
Kim took over the leadership of North Korea in 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, who had led the country since 1994, and has increased the use of public executions and prison camps, the news service said.
Many of North Korea's top government and military leaders have been purged since Kim attained the supreme leader position including his uncle and mentor, Jang Song Thaek, who was executed last year.
Kim is thought to be in his 30s, Bloomberg said, and exercises complete control over the country's 1.2 million soldiers and its nuclear weapons program.
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