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North Korea's Kim Jong-un not really in control, says brother

Kim Jong-un's brother reportedly wonders how long North Korea's Kim Jong-un can last – or how much say he will have over his own destiny, let alone that of his people.


In this undated photo released Wednesday, and distributed Thursday in Tokyo, North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un (r.) inspects the Pyongyang Folk Park under construction in Pyongyang, North Korea. The oldest son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is casting doubts on his late father's choice of his youngest brother, Kim Jong-un, as leader.

Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service/AP

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The oldest son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is casting doubts on his late father’s choice of his youngest brother as “grand successor,” but that’s not dimming the extravaganza of praise within North Korea for Kim Jong-un as “supreme leader.”

The display of Kim Jong-un riding a white horse and shaking hands with soldiers, as well as reports by the North Korean media that he recommended a military response 2-1/2 years ago to any US attempt to obstruct a missile test, convince analysts that the young man is sure to enjoy the trappings of power for the foreseeable future.

“The messages the North Korean leadership has tried to project are stability, continuity, and control,” says Scott Snyder, senior fellow for Korea Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. But, he adds, “I do not know what is happening under the surface or if these messages reflect reality in Pyongyang.”

Kim’s oldest brother, Kim Jong-Nam, living in the gambling enclave of Macao on the southeastern coast of China, hinted at the lack of confidence behind the campaign to glorify the new leader, according to a Japanese newspaper.


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