"The truth, needless to say, is probably not that Jang was killed for 'half-heartedly clapping,' as the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency claims in a lengthy explanation for the execution. More likely, this is perhaps a way for Kim to consolidate his power within a large, inscrutable bureaucracy that's dominated by much older and more experience cadres who may have resisted the young upstart's leadership," writes Max Fisher in the Washington Post.
"[Jang] Song-thaek has already been edited out of official documentaries: his story rewritten by the country's powerful propaganda machine. His dramatic fall from grace, designed to hammer the message home: that no one—not family members, not North Korea's most senior figures—is beyond retribution. But the worry remains: how much does this story reveal about instability at the heart of the North Korean regime?" writes Lucy Williamson for the BBC.