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North Korea

North Korea confirms dismissal of Kim Jong-Un's uncle

North Korea has confirmed the dismissal of Jang Song-Thaek, uncle to Kim Jong-Un, for "criminal acts." It has published an image of Jang, once seen as the country's No. 2, being escorted from a ruling party meeting.

The official Korean Central News Agency on Monday said that Kim Jong-Un's uncle, Jang Song-Thaek, had been removed from office, citing a string of criminal acts including corruption, womanizing and drug-use. He was once considered the country's second-most powerful official behind his nephew Kim.

"Jang and his followers committed criminal acts baffling imagination and they did tremendous harm to our party and revolution," the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Monday.

The unusually detailed report said Jang "had improper relations with several women and was wined and dined at back parlors of deluxe restaurants," becoming "affected by the capitalist way of living."

It carried an image of Jang being removed from a meeting of the country's Political Bureau by two uniformed guards.

The report followed a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party politburo on Sunday, which was "guided" by leader Kim Jong-Un, according to KCNA.

South Korea's intelligence agency said last week that it believed Jang Song-Thaek had been dismissed late in November, also reporting that two of his aides had been executed.

'Dreaming different dreams' and 'double-dealing behind the scenes'

"Jang pretended to uphold the party and leader but was engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams involving himself in double-dealing behind the scene," KCNA said. "Affected by the capitalist way of living, Jang committed irregularities and corruption and led a dissolute and depraved life."

Married to the daughter of North Korea's founding leader Kim Il Sung, Jang was broadly considered a close confidant and important supporting figure for his nephew in the early days after the December 2011 death of Kim Jong-Il.

Since then, however, North Korean analysts report that the 30-year-old leader has begun reshuffling the upper echelons of power to bring in younger aides.

Jang has not been seen in official North Korean media reports since early November, although South Korean officials have said they believed him to be alive and in no physical danger.

ccp, msh/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)