The elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been told by a top regime official not to criticize the communist state, including its hereditary succession, a report said yesterday.
Kim Jong-nam, 41, who has lived abroad for years, was given the advice two months ago when he made a brief home visit, the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
Jang Song-thaek, head of the administration department of the all-powerful Workers’ Party, told Kim Jong-nam to stop making comments to overseas media, including criticizing Kim Jong-un’s inheritance of the leadership, the daily said.
The newspaper said some of its sources were in Macau — where Kim Jong-nam has a house.
Jang told him not to comment about “issues concerning the foundations of the regime,” including the military, the daily said.
Kim Jong-nam has lived mainly in China after apparently falling out of favor with his father, Kim Jong-il, for trying to enter Japan on a false passport in 2001.
He has since spoken to Japanese and other overseas media with surprising candor on various occasions.
The senior Kim died in December, allowing his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, to succeed him as the North’s supreme leader, a position he had himself inherited from his father, Kim Il-sung, who founded the country in 1948.
Kim Jong-un is believed to be in his late 20s.
In an e-mail to a Tokyo Shimbun journalist in January, Kim Jong-nam said: “Anyone with normal thinking would find it difficult to tolerate three generations of hereditary succession.”
In an interview last year before his father’s death on Dec. 17, he told the same reporter that the reforms needed to avert the collapse of North Korea’s economy would lead to the end of its hardline regime.
Jang, the husband of Kim Jong-il’s younger sister, is also vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, a post seen as the second-most important in the country.