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US slams North Korean official's execution

The State Department on Thursday criticized North Korea's “extreme brutality” after its state news agency announced that leader Kim Jong Un's uncle had been executed as a “traitor to the nation.”

“While we cannot independently verify this development,” spokeswoman Marie Harf said, “we have no reason to doubt the official KCNA report that Jang Song Thaek has been executed.

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“If confirmed, this is another example of the extreme brutality of the North Korean regime. We are following developments in North Korea closely and consulting with our allies and partners in the region.”

Jang had been considered the communist regime's second-ranking official and a mentor to Kim, who is estimated to be about 30. His removal from power consolidates Kim's power but has raised concerns in South Korea and across the region of potential instability within the nuclear-armed nation.

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