Kim Jong-il’s Eldest Son Jabs Baby Brother Despot-to-Be

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Kim Jong-Nam, the eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il

JoongAng Sunday/AFP/Getty Images

Maybe it has something to do with him being overlooked to rule the country.

While NewsFeed wasn’t able to speak with Kim Jong-il on the record, we get the feeling the North Korean dictator isn’t looking kindly upon his eldest son, Kim Jong-nam, these days.

The son of the reclusive leader was once considered the likely successor to his father until things went awry in 2001, when Kim was caught with forged travel documents claiming he was from the Dominican Republic as he was attempting to travel to Tokyo Disneyland. At the time, he held senior positions within the North Korean government. But the embarrassing episode caused him to fall out of favor with his father, and Kim Jong-il began to turn to his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, to take over the family business.

Today, Kim Jong-nam lives in Macao, where he is reportedly a regular in nightclubs and casinos. He makes occasional appearances in TV interviews discussing North Korean succession and whether or not he defected from his homeland.

But in the latest interview with Japan’s Asahi TV, Kim Jong-nam said he opposed the most recent moves by his home country. “I’m against the three generations of hereditary succession. But I also think there were internal factors behind the decision, and if it is the case, then we should follow that.” He said it was his father’s decision to name Kim Jong-un as the next leader, and that he was willing to help his younger brother “when he needs it from overseas,” suggesting he would remain outside the country. But he said he was not interested in becoming North Korea’s next leader. That’s good, because we don’t think he’s in the running.

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