North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's eldest son Jong-nam expects his father's regime to collapse, Lee Ki-taek of South Korea's National Unification Advisory Council claimed Tuesday. Kim Jong-nam was passed over as his father's successor and lives in virtual exile in China.
The council quoted Lee as making the claim in a speech to Korean residents in Berlin about North Korea policy. He said he heard the story from a person close to Kim Jong-nam when they met in Macau last month.
Asked by the person in Macau why he did not go to Pyongyang to "take over the baton" when his father was ill, Kim Jong-nam said, "Why should I go? I don't want to take over the baton." The person claimed Kim junior (39) then added the regime "is collapsing. Can it last long?"
Lee was quoted as expressing hope that Kim Jong-il's third son and heir Jong-un will reform and open his country. "But Seoul is preparing for a sudden change there because there is that possibility if there is a power struggle in the North," he added.