How Killing His Uncle Could Leave Kim Jong Un Weaker

In the days following the Dec. 12 execution of Jang Song Thaek, North Korea's erstwhile No. 2 and Kim Jong Un's uncle by marriage, state media reportedly scrubbed its online archives, erasing thousands of articles that mentioned Jang. Accused of crimes including failure to clap with sufficient enthusiasm when Kim was honored with an important title, Jang was also edited out of official video footage.

But it will be harder for Kim to erase his uncle's legacy than his image. Jang, 67, had accumulated decades of experience and cultivated deep networks,...

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