N. Korea deletes leader's aunt from documentary film
SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- The aunt of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is found to have been edited out of a rerun of a documentary film, an official of the unification ministry said Thursday, in a sign that could reinforce speculation that she has been ousted from power.
The original version of the documentary showed Kim Kyoung-hui paying tribute to her elder brother, the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, at a mausoleum in December 2012, along with Kim Jong-un and other top officials.
The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang is home to the embalmed bodies of the country's two late leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, who are the grandfather and father of the current leader.
Kim Jong-un took over the communist country after his father, long-time leader Kim Jong-il, died of a heart attack on Dec. 17, 2011.
The documentary was first aired on Dec. 13, just two days after the North executed Kim Kyoung-hui's once-powerful husband, Jang Song-thaek, on charges of treason.
In February, the North's state television aired the same documentary, though it edited out scenes of Kim Kyong-hui and replaced them with the ones that showed Kim Jong-un paying tribute to his father in December, along with his wife, Ri Sol-ju.
On Tuesday, the North's state television aired the edited version of the documentary again.
"We believe that Kim Kyong-hui has been removed from posts related to the Workers' Party," the official of the unification ministry said, though it remains unclear whether she was purged.
In December, Kim Kyong-hui failed to show up at the second anniversary of her brother's death, raising questions about her political fate.
Kim Kyong-hui was last seen in public on Sept. 9, when she watched a military performance.
It is common for the North to airbrush out purged officials.
Jang was found to have been edited out of a rerun of a documentary film that aired on the country's main television channel just days before his execution.
North Korea has also deleted Pak Nam-ki, a former chief of the planning and finance department of the ruling party, from all photos and documentary films after his execution in 2010 over his botched currency reform the previous year.