Current Magazine

Kim Jong-nam Slams His Younger Brother, North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un

Posted on the 18 January 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost

Kim Jong-nam slams his younger brother, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-nam: Next in line? Photocredit: Youtube

There’s trouble amongst the Kims – North Korea’s newest dictator, Kim Jong-un, has come under fire from his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam. Jong-nam has allegedly said, amongst many other comments on the country, that the new regime won’t last, even if it’s reformed.

“Kim Jong-un is still just a nominal figure and the members of the power elite will be the ones in actual power,” Kim Jong-nam allegedly wrote, quoted on The Guardian.

Kim Jong-nam’s aunt, Kim Kyong-hui, and uncle, Jang Song-taek, are believed to be ruling the country, with Jong-un as a figurehead. Jong-nam is also alleged to have claimed, reported The Guardian, that Kim Jong-il never wanted the leadership to be hereditary, but made sure it was in order to keep the regime stable. Jong-nam has actually never met Kim Jong-un.

The revelations come from a book, to be published shortly by Bungei Shunju, a Japanese firm,  by Yoji Gomi, who has claimed to have written a series of emails to Kim Jong-nam over a period of seven years, and met him three times. However, Kim Jong-nam, who was educated in Switzerland, and currently lives in Beijing and Macau,  has yet to confirm that he wrote them. He is alleged to have fallen out of favour with his father after trying to visit Tokyo Disneyland on a fake passport. Oh, and perhaps more importantly, because he wanted to open up markets. Pictures of the fellow show a chubby, genial chap. So is he positioning himself as a potential new figurehead for North Korea? Or is he just having a good time?

“He gave me a very good impression. He’s very gentle and friendly,” said Gomi, quoted on The Guardian.

Positioning for power? The South Korean paper Chosun Ilbo said that some thought Kim Jong-nam was trying to position himself as a voice of reform, and “an alternative to the regime.” It quoted a researcher from a South Korean think tank, who suggested that the economy in North Korea might deteriorate to a point where it can’t keep the regime going – in which case there will be more “calls for reform.”

“I wish North Korea would realize that building trust with the international community will help its economy recover,” wrote Kim Jong-nam, allegedly, quoted on Chosun Ilbo .

Nah, he’s just having a laugh. Others, said Chosun Ilbo, think that Kim Jong-nam isn’t being so calculating, and is just acting emotionally. But either way, he’s certainly making himself more visible. And, reported The Telegraph, he may well have started his own Facebook page, under the name Kim Choi.

Watch out for his uncle. Meanwhile, analysts are keeping a weather eye on Jang Song-taek, the alleged “power behind the throne.” He was the victim of a purge in 2004, said The Diplomat – and possibly because of his support for Kim Jong-nam. But he reappeared in 2006, and was given a position handling the governing of the Korean Workers’ Party – it is assumed because he accepted Kim Jong-il’s anointment of Kim Jong-un as his successor. His ability to survive show that he’ll be a “strong influence” on young Kim Jong-il. “Time will tell whether he could rise even higher, or whether he will be purged again if the political winds shift against him once more.”


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog