Kim Jong-il's Eldest Son 'in the Dark but Not in Exile'

North Korean leader Kim Jong-ils eldest son Jong-nam captured on Nihon TV North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's eldest son Jong-nam captured on Nihon TV

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's eldest son Jong-nam admits he relies on press reports for news that his younger brother Jong-un will succeed their father but denies he himself is looking for asylum abroad.

Speaking to Nihon TV, Kim Jong-nam said he based his assumption on media reports and could neither confirm nor deny them definitely.

Asked whether Kim Jong-un resembles his father, he said, "That is one of the reasons my father has named my brother as his successor. My father likes my brother very much."

Nihon TV quoted Kim Jong-nam as saying the appointment of a successor is wholly the decision of the North Korean leader, who is under no obligation to notify anyone, including Jong-nam. He added he had no wish to interfere in the matter.

Kim denied press reports of a recent purge of figures close to him. "I'm staying in China and Macau as a North Korean citizen. My exile from North Korea will never happen," he added.

The Sankei Shimbun daily and other Japanese media have since April reported that the North Korean regime is arresting figures close to Kim Jong-nam and that he is now effectively living in exile.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 08, 2009 12:26 KST