North Korean leader says purge was a cleansing of "filth"
Wednesday, January 01, 2014 - 01:25
Jan. 1 - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un makes his first reference to the execution of his Uncle in a New Year's address. Sarah Toms reports.
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As the world celebrates the beginning of the New Year, even the reclusive state of North Korea joined in the festivities.
Fireworks lit up the sky above Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang where thousands of people had gathered at midnight.
Residents of Pyongyang offered flowers, paying their respects at the statues of the country's revered former leaders -- Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung -- the father and grandfather of Kim Jong Un, who runs the country now.
Kim and his wife visited the mausoleum in remembrance..
Kim chose this auspicious time to publically comment for the first time on the execution of his Uncle.
In a New Year message broadcast on state TV he said his party took "firm measures to get rid of a factional filth that permeated the party".
He added that the move had strengthened the party's unity a hundred fold.
North Korea announced in mid December it had executed Jang Song Thaek after convicting him of "acts of treachery".
The move raised concerns of instability in the secretive nuclear-armed country.
Chang was married to the sister of late leader Kim Jong-il, and was seen as the second-most important figure in the country.
During the broadcast, which appeared to be pre-recorded, Kim also called for better relations with South Korea.
He warned that another war on the Korean peninsula could trigger "an enormous nuclear catastrophe" that could hit the United States.
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