Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Kim Jong Nam does not restrict his children’s South Korean cultural interactions to the occasional Rain concert. Mr. Kim (whose business commitments find him dividing his time between Macau, Beijing and Pyongyang) is said to allow his teenage daughter to entertain a South Korean girl at one of the Kim Family homes in Macau. According to Chosun Ilbo, ROK Pyongyang watcher Nam Sung-wook takes this anecdote that he shared as an indication KJN is no longer in the running as hereditary successor:
Nam Sung-wook, director of the Institute for National Security Strategy, delivered the tidbit in a lecture about national security hosted by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security. It would appear to confirm the open secret that Kim’s ideologically sounder third son Jong-un has been picked to succeed his ailing father instead.
Kim Jong-nam, who makes his home in Beijing and Macau, has a son and a high school-age daughter whose close South Korean friend often visits their home, Nam said. Nam said it seems Kim Jong-un was picked because the North Korean leader’s middle son, Jong-chol, is disabled as a result of a car accident and suffers from a hormonal disorder.
Nam predicted the succession will be complete by 2012. Kim senior suffered a stroke in 2008 and is partly paralyzed. Rumor has it he also suffers from kidney failure.
The expert said the succession may have been among a welter of reasons why the North sank the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan.