Playboy son of NKorea leader raps succession plan

Playboy son of NKorea leader raps succession plan

While his disapproval is unsurprising, it's the first public sign of discord in the tightly choreographed succession process, though analysts said Kim Jong Nam has lived outside his native land for so long his opinion will carry little weight.

The chubby 39-year-old Kim, the oldest of three brothers who were in the running to take over secretive North Korea, is the closest thing the country has to a playboy.

Unlike many of his countrymen back home who lack the resources and connections to travel overseas, Kim Jong Nam travels freely and spends much of his time in China or the country's special autonomous region of Macau, the centre of Asian gambling with its Las Vegas-style casinos.

He sports the family pot belly and favors newsboy caps, designer shoes and an unshaven face, while frequenting five-star hotels and expensive restaurants.
He told Japan's TV Asahi in an interview from Beijing that he is "against third-generation succession, but I think there were internal factors. If there were internal factors, (we) should abide by them."

Kim added that he hopes his brother will do his best to bring abundance to the lives of North Koreans and that he stands ready to help from abroad, according to a dubbed Japanese-language version of his remarks.

Andrei Lankov, a Russian expert on North Korea at Seoul's Kookmin University, said Kim Jong Nam's remarks were "almost a challenge", but noted he has little influence due to the considerable time he spends abroad and lacks military support.

"I don't see them rallying to Kim Jong Nam," he added, emphasising that key generals who run the military far prefer Kim Jong Un, who they see as young, inexperienced and thus easy to control.

Kim Jong Nam is widely believed to have fallen out of favour as a possible successor after embarrassing the government in 2001 by being caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport, saying he wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland.