(NBC NEWS) BEIJING – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s highly scripted execution of his uncle makes one thing abundantly clear: Two years after taking power, the training wheels are now off for the world’s youngest head of state. He truly is his grandfather’s son.

Kim’s uncle by marriage, Jang Song Taek, was executed Thursday for treason, the country’s state-run news service said in a dramatic announcement which characterized him as “despicable human scum.” He had also been accused of corruption, womanizing, gambling and taking drugs.

Rampant theories began circling immediately, chief among them the speculation that it was the start or end of a power struggle within the hermit kingdom.

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