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North Korea succession: Kim Jong-il's oldest son reveals ruling family fissure

North Korea leader Kim Jong-il's oldest son, Kim Jong-nam, said he is 'personally opposed to the hereditary transfer' of power to his half-brother, Kim Jong-un.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (r.) and his third son Kim Jong-un attend the biggest parade ever to mark the 65th anniversary of the communist nation's ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Oct. 10.

Vincent Yu/AP

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A fissure may be opening up in the appearance of unity among members of North Korea’s ruling family just two days after leader Kim Jong-il staged the biggest parade in North Korean history to show off his third son, Kim Jong-un, as heir to power.

Kim Jong-nam, the oldest of Kim Jong-il’s three sons, told a Japanese TV reporter that he was “personally opposed to the hereditary transfer to a third generation of the family,” while wishing his youngest half-brother, Kim Jong-un, well and promising “to help him whenever necessary.”

Kim Jong-nam, who resides in the former Portuguese colony of Macao, a gambling enclave on China’s southern coast, made the remark Saturday in a conversation with a reporter from Japan's TV Asahi. That was the same day when Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un appeared at elaborate mass games in Pyongyang’s May First Stadium and the day before they reviewed a parade showing off the North’s military might. The conversation, however, was not aired until Tuesday.


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