South Korea has accused North Korean leader Kim Jong Un of conducting a "reign of terror" after Pyongyang dismissed the country's second most powerful man from his official posts.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye said in a cabinet meeting broadcast on television Tuesday that the ouster of Jang Song-Thaek, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un, indicates the beginning of a large-scale purge that may damage relations between Seoul and Pyongyang.
She said such a move would be a means to consolidate Kim Jong Un's power.
The official Korean Central News Agency reported on Monday that Jang had been removed from all of his official posts and expelled from the ruling party. The report accused him of several criminal acts, including corruption, womanizing and drug use.
State television aired photos it said showed Jang being escorted out of a Worker's Party meeting by uniformed officers Sunday. The photos show Kim sitting at the podium of the same meeting.
Jang is married to Kim Jong Un's aunt, Kim Kyong Hui. It is not clear what will happen to him now or if he will face formal criminal charges.
Last week, South Korea's intelligence agency, which revealed Jang's ouster from power a week ago, also said two of his aides have been publicly executed.