Ousting of Kim Jong-un's uncle implies major power shake-up in North Korea: expertsUpdated: 2013-12-04 PM 2:28:55 (KST)
If reports of Jang Song-taek's ousting are confirmed, experts say the removal implies a major shift in the North Korean leadership.
On Tuesday, Seoul's National Intelligence Service said Jang had been purged, and two of his close confidants executed.
As Kim's uncle, Jang practically served as the guardian of the young and inexperienced dictator and was known as the "power behind the throne."
Also as a vice chairman, Jang had full control over the National Defense Commission, the state's most powerful organization.
Experts see Jang's dismissal as the last part of the young leader's power consolidation phase, saying that Kim has removed all of the old guard close to his father and is now finalizing the members of his own inner group.
They say a complete removal of Jang and his aides may carry North Korea further away from a successful economic reform -- one of Kim's key policy goals -- since Jang is more aware of market forces than his nephew.
The latest ousting may also lead to an escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula, as the regime may launch provocations as a means of maintaining internal unity.
That means a fourth nuclear test or a missile launch could be on the cards.
Such outlook has been echoed by government officials in Seoul.
An official at the unification ministry said that, if Jang's removal was due to an internal power struggle, it's bound to have an impact on inter-Korean relations.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
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