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North Korea purges Kim Jong Un's powerful uncle

| Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, 9:21 p.m.
FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2012 file photo provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, Jang Song Thaek, North Korea's vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission, attends the third meeting on developing the economic zones in North Korea, in Beijing. North Korea on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, acknowledged the purge of leader Kim Jong Un's influential uncle for alleged corruption, drug use, gambling and a long list of other 'anti-state' acts, apparently ending the career of the country's second most powerful official. The young North Korean leader will now rule without the relative long considered his mentor as he consolidated power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, two years ago. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Xin, File) NO SALES

SEOUL — North Korea on Monday acknowledged the purge of leader Kim Jong Un's influential uncle for alleged corruption, drug use, gambling and a long list of other “anti-state” acts, apparently ending the career of the country's second-most-powerful official.

The young North Korean leader will rule without the relative long considered his mentor as he consolidated power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, two years ago.

Jang Song Thaek's fall from the leadership, detailed in a lengthy dispatch by state media, is the latest and most significant in a series of personnel reshuffles that Kim has conducted in an apparent effort to bolster his power.

Some analysts see the purge as a sign of Kim Jong Un's growing confidence, but there has also been fear in Seoul that the removal of such an important part of the North's government — seen by outsiders as the leading supporter of Chinese-style economic reforms — could foment dangerous instability or lead to a major miscalculation or attack on the South.

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