N Korea deletes articles on Kim's uncle after purge report

SEOUL - News reports about Jang Song-Thaek, the powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, have been deleted from the website of the state news agency, supporting speculation Jang has been ousted.

The Korean-language website of the North's Korean Central News Agency displayed no result for Jang when searched on Sunday by an AFP correspondent.

There was also no mention on the site of Ri Yong-Ha and Jang Soo-Kil, senior party officials reportedly executed due to their close ties to Jang.

A search for Jang's wife Kim Kyong-Hui, the sister of late leader Kim Jong-Il, also produced no result.

South Korea's spy agency said last week that Jang - seen as the regent to the young Kim - had apparently been purged and the two associates executed, in what would be the biggest shake-up since Kim came to power in December 2011 after the death of his father Jong-Il.

Jang was often referred to as the unofficial number two in the hierarchy and the real power behind the throne of Kim, who is aged around 30.

On Friday the South's cable news network YTN, citing intelligence sources, said an aide to Jang had fled the North before the purge and was seeking asylum in South Korea.

It said the unidentified aide may have information on secret funds controlled by the Kim family.

YTN said he escaped from Pyongyang two months ago and is now under the protection of South Korean intelligence agents in China while awaiting a flight to Seoul.

The South's Yonhap news agency said Jang, 67, was edited out of a re-run of a documentary film that aired on the North's main television channel.

But the website of the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the North's ruling party, still posted dozens of articles related to Jang on Sunday.