Top aide to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un dies in car crash: KCNA

North Korea's 'Paranoid' Computer Operating System Revealed

A senior North Korean ruling party official and a top aide to leader Kim Jong Un has died in a car accident, the state news agency reported on Wednesday, in the latest event to hit the close circle of deputies of the country's leader.

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Kim Yang Gon, who was a secretary of the Workers' Party and the head of its United Front Department, the unit that handles the North's ties with South Korea, was Kim Jong Un's "closest comrade, a solid revolutionary partner," KCNA said.

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Top aide to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un dies in car crash: KCNA
This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 12, 2015 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the newly renovated May 9 catfish farm at an undisclosed location in North Korea. REPUBLIC KOREA OUT -- AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS THIS PICTURE WAS MADE AVAILABLE BY A THIRD PARTY. AFP CAN NOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, LOCATION, DATE AND CONTENT OF THIS IMAGE. THIS IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY AFP. ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / KCNA / KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)
This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 12, 2015 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the newly renovated May 9 catfish farm at an undisclosed location in North Korea. REPUBLIC KOREA OUT -- AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS THIS PICTURE WAS MADE AVAILABLE BY A THIRD PARTY. AFP CAN NOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, LOCATION, DATE AND CONTENT OF THIS IMAGE. THIS IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY AFP. ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / KCNA / KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)
This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on December 12, 2015 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the newly renovated May 9 catfish farm at an undisclosed location in North Korea. REPUBLIC KOREA OUT -- AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS THIS PICTURE WAS MADE AVAILABLE BY A THIRD PARTY. AFP CAN NOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, LOCATION, DATE AND CONTENT OF THIS IMAGE. THIS IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY AFP. ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / KCNA / KNS (Photo credit should read KNS/AFP/Getty Images)
Travellers walk past a television screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's New Year speech, at a railroad station in Seoul on January 1, 2015. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said he was open to the 'highest-level' talks with South Korea as he called for an improvement in strained cross-border relations. AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
KIM JONG-UN Leader of North Korea at plenary meeting of the central committee of the Worker's Party in Pyongyang in March 2013
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Kim as the top official managing ties with the South was part of a high-level delegation that held talks in August after the rival states exchanged artillery fire, raising tensions to one of its highest points in recent years.

Those talks produced an agreement that ended the standoff and for the two sides to work to hold more discussions to improve ties.

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KCNA said Kim died on Tuesday in an automobile accident at the age of 73. It gave no details of the accident.

The North's leader Kim Jong Un has dismissed a string of aides in top positions since he took over when his father died suddenly in 2011.

In 2013, he purged and executed his uncle Jang Song Thaek, who was once considered the second most powerful man in the country for "anti-revolutionary crimes."

(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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