Pyongyang 'Ruled by Climate of Fear'

The North Korean capital is gripped by fear after the execution of leader Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-taek.

A source in the North said state security agents and soldiers are out on the streets of Pyongyang controlling the flow of human traffic, "so it's difficult to move even a hundred meters." The source added people who do not live in Pyongyang have been ordered to leave the capital, while outsiders are not allowed to enter.

Some North Koreans are apparently mourning Jang's loss. One resident of Sinuiju near the border with China said, "It's a pity because there were many who respected Jang Song-taek."

The source said many people in trade or business supported Jang, and "that's why Kim Jong-un killed him." There are rumors that Jang's relatives in Wonsan, Kangwon Province will all be purged.

The climate of fear apparently started to spread when Jang's closest confidants Ri Yong-ha and Jang Su-gil were publicly executed late last month. There have been more frequent public executions recently to consolidate Kim's grip on power.

National Intelligence Service chief Nam Jae-joon told lawmakers on Dec. 6 that there were 17 public executions last year but around 40 this year. The North executed a group of entertainers earlier amid rumors of sexual misconduct.

People were executed in seven major cities accused of watching or distributing South Korean TV dramas and movies or pornography.

Meanwhile, Chinese troops started massive military drills just after rumors of Jang's purge surfaced on Dec. 3.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 16, 2013 12:39 KST