In a country where purges are as commonplace as polling in democratic countries, the summary execution of North Korea’s number two figure Jang Song Thaek, 67, was breathtaking in its brutality. Jang's extensive tentacles of his power and influence, as well as his reported close relations with powerful neighbor China, makes this purge akin to a political earthquake with shockwaves likely to be felt inside and outside of North Korea for months to come.

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