North Korea leader's oldest son says opposes dynastic succession
– 14 mins ago
SEOUL (Reuters) – The oldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il says he is opposed to the idea of dynastic succession in his country but wishes the best for his brother who has been chosen by their father as heir.
Kim Jong-nam, who is known to live in China and Macau, told Japan's TV Asahi that he personally had no interest in becoming leader, indicating there was no power struggle between the siblings who are believed to have different mothers.
"Personally, I am against third-generation dynastic succession," Kim Jong-nam said in an interview with TV Asahi on October 9, the day before a large military parade in Pyongyang where his brother took center-stage and made his national debut.
"But I think there were internal factors. I think we should adhere to it if there were internal factors involved."
The portly oldest son of leader Kim Jong-il has been thought to have fallen out of his father's favor, especially after he was deported from Japan on suspicion of trying to enter Japan with forged travel documents to go to Tokyo Disneyland.
Jong-nam, believed to be 39, has spoken to reporters several times mostly in Beijing, answering questions in Korean and in nearly fluent English, and has rejected the idea that he will try to take over power from his father.
"I think my father decided (for Jong-un to be successor). I don't regret it and I'm not interested in it, so I don't mind."
"I want my brother to do his best for the North Korean people, for their prosperity," he said in Korean. "I am ready to help my brother at any time overseas if he needs me to."
Jong-nam is believed to be the son of an actress who later died in Moscow. The mother of his two brothers, including the youngest Jong-un, was a dancer.
Jong-un, known to be in his mid- to late- 20s, stood near his father on the dais overlooking a big military parade on Sunday in Pyongyang, clapping and saluting thousands of soldiers and reviewing missile, tanks and rockets.
He was named a general last month and was appointed to a key political post in the ruling Workers' Party in a move which confirmed he was being groomed to succeed his father who reportedly suffered a stroke in 2008 and is seen to be in failing health.
(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Jeremy Laurence and Sugita Katyal)