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North Korea's No. 2 leader Jang Song-Taek may have been removed from power as he hasn't been seen for weeks and not since his aides were executed.
Jang, who is also dictator Kim Jong Un's uncle, has reportedly been dismissed from his position as the vice chairman of the National Defense Commission according to South Korea's spy agency, reports BBC News. Reports also say that his two close aides were executed for corruption.
South Korea reported the news after receiving intelligence reports from their National Intelligence Service was given information from several sources. The BBC notes that the NIS has been wrong about North Korea before and these reports are difficult to verify.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Jang has long been a powerful figure in the North Korean government. He often traveled with Kim Jong Il and King Jong Un on domestic trips.
North Korea's Research & Strategy at Liberty director, Sokeel Park, said, "As a regent, helping establish a power base for Kim Jong Un, people thought his power would decline at some point, but it's been less than two years [ since Kim Jong Un took over leadership] so it seems pretty quick if this is true."
He added that despite not being publicly seen since early November, "We shouldn't be too shocked if Jang turns up at Kim Jong Un's side a week from now."