Kim Jong-il`s eldest son secretly pays last respects

Last Updated: Sunday, January 1, 2012 - 16:58

Tokyo: The eldest son of North Korea`s late leader Kim Jong-il has secretly visited Pyongyang to pay his last respects, the major Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Sunday.

Kim Jong-Nam`s absence from a state funeral and other
official events related to his father`s death has fuelled
speculation about a possible power struggle with his
half-brother Jong-Un, who has taken over North Korea`s top
posts.

Jong-Nam, 40, flew to Pyongyang from the Chinese
territory of Macau, where he mainly lives, on December 17
after learning about his father`s death that day, Yomiuri
said. He left after "a few days" and was now in Macau, the
report said.

Using a passport under the false identify of Kim Chol, he
avoided a flight via Beijing which might have given more
exposure to his return home, the daily said quoting a source
connected to North Korea.

Jong-Un, aged in his late 20s, was presumed to have
accompanied his older brother to see their father`s body,
Yomiuri said.

The eldest son probably refrained from attending the
December 28 funeral because he did not want to give rise to
possible arguments over "why the third should become the
successor," the source told the daily.

The source added that Jong-Nam "pulled out of the
succession race several years ago by himself, saying he had no
interest in politics," according to Yomiuri.

Jong-Nam has lived abroad for years after apparently
falling out of favour with his father for trying to enter
Japan on a false passport in 2001.

Jong-il eventually backed his youngest son from another
marriage to continue the dynasty. The North has proclaimed
Jong-Un the "great successor" and the supreme commander of the
military after his father`s death due to a heart attack aged
69.

South Korea`s Yonhap news agency reported last week that
Jong-Nam had been "placed under Chinese protection."

Jong Nam has described as a "farce" South Korean media
reports in 2009 that people around Jong-Un had tried to
assassinate him in Macau, the source told the daily.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, January 1, 2012 - 16:57

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