Kim Jong-il's Oldest Son 'Faces Perpetual Exile'

      February 17, 2010 09:04

      Kim Jong-nam

      North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's eldest son Jong-nam has reportedly been excluded from his father's birthday celebrations for the second year running. "A family gathering was held to celebrate Kim Jong-il's 68th birthday on Tuesday, with third son Jong-un in attendance," a North Korean source said. "But there are no signs that Jong-nam flew to Pyongyang from Macau or China, where he lives."

      Kim Jong-nam was in Pyongyang between July and September 2008 after his father collapsed with a massive stroke. But he has been living in exile since January 2009, when it appears his younger brother Jong-un was named as the successor to the leadership.

      A South Korean government source said, "Just like North Korean Ambassador to Poland Kim Pyong-il, Kim Jong-il's half brother, who has been unable to return to the North for more than 20 years, there's a sting chance that Kim Jong-nam faces lifelong exile."

      Kim Jong-nam fell into disgrace after he was caught by Japanese authorities in May 2001 for trying to enter the country on a forged passport but returned to Pyongyang for his father's birthday in February 2008 bearing gifts he purchased in Macau. He was also spotted at a neurosurgery hospital in Paris in October that year, just after the elder Kim suffered the stroke, which led to speculation that he was been chosen to succeed his father.

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