SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Seoul's spy agency says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is believed to have demoted one of his top associates and sent him to a rural collective farm.
If confirmed, the demotion of Choe Ryong Hae will be the latest in a series of executions, purges and dismissals that Kim has orchestrated in what analysts say is a further strengthening of his grip on power since taking over in 2011.
Lawmaker Shin Kyung-min says the National Intelligence Service gave the information during a parliamentary committee meeting Tuesday.
Shin cites the NIS as saying it has intelligence that Choe's demotion was related to the alleged collapse of a water tunnel at a power station.
Choe was once considered to be the North's No. 2 powerful official.