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Another entrant for North Korea succession: Kim's oldest son?

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Kim Jong-nam’s remarks about North Korea’s impending collapse were quoted by a senior South Korean official, Lee Ki-taek, deputy chairman of the South’s national unification advisory council, in a lecture in Berlin. Mr. Lee, speaking to Koreans living in Berlin, attributed them to a source who had seen Kim in Macao last month.

Carefully rehearsed remarks?

Mr. Ha believes Kim Jong-nam carefully rehearsed remarks that he made in an on-the-record interview with TV Asahi, a major Japanese network, during a recent visit to Beijing. Kim in that interview said he opposed “third-generation succession” – an allusion to the dynastic handover of power from long-ruling Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994, to Kim Jong-il and then to Kim Jong-un.

“He planned that comment in advance,” says Ha, whose station relies on secret cellphone contacts inside North Korea for much of its information. “There was a reason for his decision to talk in that way.”

Ha highlighted the rivalry between Kim Jong-nam and Kim Jong-un in a seminar at which Kim Jong-il’s one-time chef talked about his memories of the family.

The chef, Kenji Fujimoto, who took off for Japan in 2001 and never returned, said he was “very surprised” by Kim Jong-nam’s remarks as they “put his life in danger.”

Mr. Fujimoto also noted one comment that appeared to have been a deliberate effort to enrage his father. Rather than referring to North Korea by its formal name, “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” Kim Jong-nam used the same Korean words for “North Korea” that are commonly used by South Koreans.

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