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N Korea at crossroads

Kim Jong Un's uncle: Pensioner or soon to be purged?

Homecoming of Kim Pyong Il sparks speculation over his fate

Kim Pyong Il is the son of North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung. This image, taken at the 25th annual memorial service of Kim Il Sung in July, was released by North Korea's Central News Agency.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- The return of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, Kim Pyong Il, after three decades in near exile has provided grist for the rumor mill over the fate of the 65-year-old who was once considered heir to the throne of the Hermit Kingdom.

Kim Pyong Il was confirmed to have returned to North Korea from his last in a string of diplomatic posts as ambassador to the Czech Republic, South Korea's National Intelligence Service told lawmakers on Friday. The spy agency previously reported Nov. 4 that he would be "returning soon" with his brother-in-law, the ambassador to Austria.

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