Eldest Son 'Told Kim Jong-il to Rein in Jong-un'

The eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met his father in Beijing in late August this year and protested against his younger brother Kim Jong-un's orchestration of an attack against the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan, KBS reported Thursday.

The broadcaster cited a close associate of Kim Jong-nam's in China as saying when Kim Jong-il visited China, Kim Jong-nam went to his hotel room and told him Jong-un was behind the Cheonan incident to make up for a botched currency reform late last year he had also pushed. "Why are you condoning this when nobody even knows who Jong-un is?" the associate quoted Kim Jong-nam as saying.

He said Kim Jong-nam told his father to stop condoning Jong-un's behavior and warned if the 27-year-old heir apparent keeps misbehaving, then Jong-nam would go his own way too. He added the mysterious delay of an extraordinary Workers Party congress in September was due to Kim Jong-nam's protest. "There are many supporters of Kim Jong-nam in China and North Korea," the associate said.

The associate also claimed that Kim Jong-il worries about a brewing feud between the two sons. Kim Jong-un tried to assassinate Kim Jong-nam in Macau but failed when Chinese authorities found out. "Later, Kim Jong-il personally asked Chinese President Hu Jintao to ensure Jong-nam's safety and got the promise," he said.

KBS did not reveal the identity of the associate.

A senior government official said, "We've heard similar rumors before, but none of them have been confirmed."

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 15, 2010 10:07 KST