Pyongyang on Thursday executed the uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un charging him with corruption and plotting to overthrow the state.
Kerry said the shock punishment of Jang Song-Thaek showed the world "how ruthless and reckless" Kim is, and he likened him to late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
"This is the nature of this ruthless, horrendous dictatorship and of his insecurities," Kerry told ABC television.
Jang's death -- just days after he was ousted from all his party and military positions -- marks the biggest political upheaval since the young Kim inherited power after the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in December 2011.
"It's an ominous sign of the instability and of the danger that does exist," Kerry said in the interview carried out during his trip to Vietnam. Source.
Building a Coalition
Thursday's events showed the urgent need to get "China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, all of us to stay on the same page and to put as much effort into the denuclearization (sic) as possible."
Last week the State Department said it was increasing its talks with regional allies in the wake of the execution to try to find a way forward. Source.
Echos of Pre-Iraq War Drums
In 2003, a coalition led by the U.S. and U.K. invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, in which U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair accused him of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al-Qaeda. Saddam's Ba'ath party was disbanded and elections were held. Following his capture on 13 December 2003, the trial of Saddam took place under the Iraqi interim government. On 5 November 2006, Saddam was convicted of charges related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi'ites and was sentenced to death by hanging. His execution was carried out on 30 December 2006.