Kim Jong Nam, the outspoken first son of Kim Jong Il, has made a surprise revelation to a Japanese media outlet in Beijing, saying, “Personally, I am opposed to the third generation succession.”
In the interview with TV Asahi on the 9th, the day before the founding day of the Chosun Workers’ Party, Kim appeared to ward off the possible aftermath of his comments by appending, “However, I believe there must have been good reasons for it internally,” and adding, “And as long as there are reasons, I think we have to follow them.”
Regarding Kim Jong Eun’s appointment as successor, he went on, “It is my father’s decision,” and added, “There is nothing to regret. I have not taken any interest in it and I don’t care about it at all.”
However, Kim took the chance to extend the hand of assistance to his younger half-brother, saying, “I am prepared to assist my brother from abroad whenever he needs it. I will help him anytime.”
Asked to send a message to Kim Jong Eun, he said, “I hope my brother will do his best for the good life of North Korea and for the North Korean people.”
Kim Jong Nam’s occasional cameo appearances in the international media look like an effort to limit the tension that exists between himself and Kim Jong Eun through indirect channels.
One anonymous South Korean expert on international relations and strategy also alleges that Kim Jong Nam may be under the protection of Beijing, citing the fact that he was nowhere to be seen when the succession issue was at the forefront late last month and early in October, appearing to have gone into hiding.
An official with South Korean intelligence authorities explained the backdrop, saying, “We know that Kim Jong Nam left Macau and is living in China and another third country. Since he was born to a different mother (Sung Hye Rim) from Jong Eun and Jong Cheol (Ko Young Hee), Kim Jong Nam has lost influence.”
Since the early 2000s when he attempted to enter Japan on a fake Dominican Republic passport, Kim Jong Nam has been excluded from the heart of North Korean politics, living in Macau.