People watch television news showing Jang Song-thaek in court before his excution on December 12, 2013. Photo: AFP/Woohae

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, reportedly ordered the execution of his uncle and close adviser in December 2013 after learning that Jang Song-thaek had approached China with the idea of supporting a coup that would replace Kim with his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, according to a story in the Nikkei Asian Review.

His half-brother Kim Jong-nam is also said to have been assassinated by poison in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year because he figured in the alleged plot.

The story, which was picked up by other news outlets, says Jang met in Beijing with then Chinese President Hu Jintao in August 2012. Jang reportedly had close business and political ties with China’s leadership and served as Beijing’s man in Pyongyang.

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