Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong II`s half-brother Pyong II, the country`s ambassador to Poland, is rumoured to be under virtual house arrest in Pyongyang, a South Korean daily reported on Friday.
A source familiar with the North Korean affairs told the Chosun Ilbo that Kim Pyong II is said to have been restricted to his home ever since he arrived in Pyongyang in May, because Kim Jong II`s son and heir Jong Un and his followers are manoeuvring to hold him in check.
"Anyone who is believed to pose an obstacle to Kim Jong Un`s succession, even members of his own family, is subject to elimination," the source was quoted as saying.
Experts say Kim Jong Un is deliberately trying to look like his grandfather Kim II Sung to take advantage of nostalgia for the late founder of the nation, but Kim Pyong II looks more like Kim II Sung and is therefore regarded as a threat, the report said.
Since Kim Jong II beat him to the succession in the 1960s and 1970s, Kim Pyong II has spent 23 years overseas, beginning as ambassador to Hungary in 1988 and then becoming ambassador to Bulgaria, Finland and Poland. He has returned to Pyongyang only a few times since Kim II Sung died in July 1994.
This time, observers speculate he will spend some time in Pyongyang before returning to Poland because his mother Kim Song Ae, 87, is in her final days. But others speculate he will return to Poland in August after observing the anniversary of his father`s death on July 08.