May 20, 2013 12:26
China is secretly pursuing plans to install North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's older brother Kim Jong-nam at the head of the renegade country in case the regime collapses, Germany’s Deutsche Welle reported Thursday.
Under the headline "Is China Seeking Regime Change in North Korea," Deutsche Welle cited intelligence sources as saying Beijing "has a contingency plan in place for when Kim Jong-un's control over the country crumbles." It is "quietly encouraging regime change and is grooming Kim's brother, Kim Jong-nam to take over his role."
Kim Jong-nam's relative obscurity at home is a problem. "Even residents of Pyongyang know very little" about him, according to the report.
The broadcaster said North Korea's sudden throttling back of its aggressive rhetoric and provocations has led to suggestions that "Pyongyang has realized it has pushed its only ally in the region to the brink of severing its friendship."
One sign that North Korea is aiming to appease China was Pyongyang’s announcement early last week that it appointed Jang Jong-nam, a little-known commander of an army corps in coastal Kangwon Province, to replace the elderly hawk previously in charge of the armed forces.
There is more evidence that China is slowly increasing pressure on North Korea "as more state-run financial institutions sever their links with banks in North Korea," the German broadcaster added.
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