Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of leader Kim Jong-un and one of the most influential men in North Korea's communist regime, has been purged, South Korea's NIS intelligence agency said Tuesday.
Two of Jang's close associates were executed for corruption and involvement in activities against the Korean Workers' Party, or KWP, the NIS told South Korean lawmakers.
Ri Ryong-ha and Jang Soo-kil, who held high-level posts in the administrative affairs department of North Korea's only political party, were executed in public.
The 67-year-old Jang Song-thaek is married to Kim Kyong-hui, the sister of former leader Kim Jong-il, who died in December 2011, and aunt of the current leader.
Jang held several posts in the KWP, the political wing of the regime, serving as vice president of the powerful National Defense Commission.
The North Korean leader's uncle has not appeared in public since the executions of his two close associates, South Korean intelligence officials said, citing "several reliable sources" with knowledge of the purge.
Jang was last seen in public on Nov. 6 in Pyongyang, where he met with Japanese Sen. Kanji Inoki, and has not appeared with Kim Jong-un since Oct. 10, when the leadership marked the 68th anniversary of the founding of the KWP. EFE