China ‘Protecting Kim Jong-nam’

With the recent handover of power in North Korea to Kim Jong-un, his older brother is said to be under China’s protection in case Kim Jong-un’s regime collapses. Kim Jong-nam lives in exile in Beijing and Macao. The Telegraph reports:

“If there is trouble anywhere near him, he said that suddenly a number of people appear around him,” said Yoji Gomi, a journalist and author of ‘My Father, Kim Jong-il, and I: Kim Jong-nam’s Exclusive Confession’.

“Even when nothing is happening, he feels their presence,” Gomi added. “He said he does not know if he is being protected or monitored, but it is always like that.”

It appears that China is taking care of him for its own aims, he added.

“Having the son of the former leader of a neighbouring country under their protection could be a political card that the Chinese could use at some time in the future,” he said.

Kim Jong-nam has expressed doubts about his younger brother’s ability to govern, but it is believed that the elder Kim has given up on prospects for succession. The New York Times adds:

Kim Jong-nam is widely believed to have been dropped from consideration as a successor after he embarrassed the government in 2001, when he was caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport. He said he wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

He is the closest thing the country has to an international playboy and is the only one who speaks to the foreign media. He travels freely and spends much of his time in China or its special autonomous region Macao — the center of Asian gambling with its Las Vegas-style casinos.

That was a rare public sign of discord in the tightly choreographed succession process, but analysts said that Kim Jong-nam spent so much time outside his native land that his opinion carried little weight.

“As a matter of common sense, a transfer to the third generation is unacceptable,” Kim Jong-nam was quoted as saying in an e-mail dated this month. “The power elite that have ruled the country will continue to be in control.”

January 24, 2012 4:53 PM
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