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N. Korean leader's uncle deleted from state media website

2013/12/08 19:47

SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- News articles related to Jang Song-thaek, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's powerful uncle, were found to have been removed from the website of the country's news agency Sunday, reinforcing speculation that he has been ousted from power.

The official website of North Korea's mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), monitored by Yonhap News Agency, yielded no search result under Jang's name.

Mentions of Ri Ryong-ha and Jang Soo-kil, senior party officials reportedly executed for their close ties to Jang, were also conspicuously missing from the website.

The discovery came after last week's media reports and speculation by South Korea's National Intelligence Service that Jang has likely been removed from power, a development that can cause a shift in power and heighten uncertainty within the communist country.

On Saturday, the 67-year-old Jang was also found to have been edited out of a rerun of a documentary film that aired on the country's main television channel.

In the documentary, broadcast by the North's Korean Central Television Station, the vice chairman of the North's National Defense Commission was found to be cut from or airbrushed out of some 17 scenes. The film recorded leader Kim's inspection trip to a military unit.

In the original version, aired nine times in October, had shown Jang closely accompanying the leader during the inspection trip by, for example, walking side by side with Kim and clapping hands while the leader shook hands with a commander.

Meanwhile, the official website of the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the Workers' Party of Korea, was still posting 64 articles related to Jang on Sunday.

colin@yna.co.kr

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