Kim Jong-il’s son hits out at North Korea dynasty
Keeping it in the family: As power transfers to Kim Jong-un from Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-nam weighs in
At an extravagant ceremony on Sunday featuring a military parade, 50,000 dancers and ostrich costumes, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il presented his presumed successor to the world – his youngest son Kim Jong-un, newly promoted to the rank of four-star general.
But it seems not all of the Dear Leader's brood are happy with this smooth transfer of power. Chubby eldest boy Kim Jong-nam has told Japanese media he is opposed to "third-generation dynastic succession".
Jong-nam, who lives a playboy lifestyle split between mainland China and gamblers' paradise Macau, was careful to qualify his remarks by saying he was "prepared to help my younger brother whenever necessary while I stay abroad".
And Jong-nam is not himself a challenger for the family business - he is thought to have gone into voluntary exile after embarrassing North Korea by trying to enter Japan on a false passport to visit Disneyland.
The 39-year-old instead seems content to spend his days frequenting four-star hotels and expensive restaurants. He told Chinese media last year he had "no interest" in replacing his father.
But there is one other sibling who might still put in a bid: secretive middle brother Kim Jong-chol, about whom little is known to the public – except that, like Jong-un, he studied in Switzerland and is a basketball fan.
On the other hand, Jong-un may not need to feel threatened. If Jong-chol excels at basketball as his father does at golf (Kim Jong-il is the world's greatest golfer, achieving three or four hole-in-ones in every round, according to the state media he controls) he will probably settle for a world-record-breaking pro career. ·
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