North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Jong-nam Hardly a Sidebranch

Kim Jong-nam

Choson Ilbo, citing two anonymous sources, reports that Kim Jong-nam (KJI’s oldest son) did not attend a family birthday celebration on Tuesday (16 February) :

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s eldest son Jong-nam has reportedly been excluded from his father’s birthday celebrations for the second year running. “A family gathering was held to celebrate Kim Jong-il’s 68th birthday on Tuesday, with third son Jong-un in attendance,” a North Korean source said. “But there are no signs that Jong-nam flew to Pyongyang from Macau or China, where he lives.”

Ah, but CI‘s source is merely regurgitating the conventional wisdom that KJN lives in China; Mr. Kim has been living in Pyongyang for the last few years and commuting to Beijing and Macau.  It is also highly unlikely Kim Jong-nam has been given the Pyong-il treatment.  He is, after all, the father of several KJI’s grandchildren.  He has also done a lot of heavy emotional and professional heavy lifting for his father and family over the years.  This is not a man that can be easily banned from North Korea and relegated to live a life counting the ceiling tiles in his Macau townhouse.


This article was written on 17 Feb 2010, and is filled under Kim Family, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un, KJI Personal Secretariat.

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