October 13, 2010 08:56
Close aides to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's third son Jong-un planned to attack his older brother Kim Jong-nam when Jong-un was named as the successor to the leadership in January last year but China told them to leave him alone, officials here said Tuesday.
The North Korean leader's reform-minded oldest son has been living in virtual exile in Beijing and Macau since he fell out of favor with his father.
A South Korean official said Jong-un's aides tried "to do something to Kim Jong-nam, who has a loose tongue abroad," but it seems China warned them not to lay a hand on him on Chinese soil.
Kim Jong-nam reportedly has close ties with China's powerful "princelings," an elite group of the children of senior Chinese officials. The plan was apparently fuelled by rumors that China would attempt to march into the North and install Kim Jong-nam as the ruler in case the regime collapses.
"Kim Jong-nam won't go back to the North but stay in China," the official added.
On Saturday, the 38-year old told Japanese TV he is against the hereditary succession in the North.
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