A secretive meeting between Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, and top officials at the Chinese president’s palatial palace in Beijing was the most significant sign yet of the tightening grip on power under Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean leader’s half-brother.

The meeting, which took place on Monday, came after the North’s supreme leader, Kim Yong Nam, visited the Chinese leader in Beijing last week, according to South Korean news reports.

The three men discussed a plan to “purge the party’s leaders from power, purge the bureaucracy, and purge the army”, according to the reports.

“There will be a great purge of all political enemies, and the generals will take over from the generals,” Kim Yong, the new leader’s uncle, told the Chinese government officials.

Kim Yong said that “the party will be restored” and the military will be “given a big boost”.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the meeting between the two leaders, who are known as the Four Great Leaders, was attended by senior military officials from the People’s Liberation Army and the North.

A top source in North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, who spoke to Yonhap, said the talks between the leaders “contradicted the earlier expectations” of the party, according, to Yonpag.

“The party leadership is aware that this meeting was not a show of goodwill and it was not to show friendship, but to express their serious desire to end the current crisis,” the source said.

North Korea is believed to be on the brink of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile, but the White House said last week that it had no indication that it would act.

The White House and Pentagon have said there are no plans to escalate the conflict, and US President Donald Trump has said he will not go to war with North Korea.

North Korea has continued to conduct tests and missile launches amid fears the United States will attack its nuclear and missile facilities.

North Korean state media, which are closely controlled, said on Sunday that Kim Jong Kook, North Korea ‘s foreign minister, met with the top military leader, the country’s defence minister and the chief of staff of the armed forces to discuss ways to “pacify the party and consolidate its position”.

The official KCNA news agency reported that Kim said he wanted to establish an all-powerful military leadership with an unprecedented command structure and military units capable of dealing with any threat, including the US.

Kim Jong Nam’s government was established in 1953, but has struggled to consolidate power since its leader died in December 2011.

After Kim Jong Suk, North Korean ruler Kim Jong Ill, and his younger half-sister Kim Jong Chol were both killed in mysterious circumstances in 2011, the leadership fell into a state of chaos and was ruled by his brother, Kim Karm.

North Koreans who had lived in exile in China were expelled and have been in exile ever since.

According to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, Kim Hyon Chol, a former chief of the country ‘s powerful intelligence service, was killed in January 2016 in a mysterious car crash in the country.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the killing.