Kim Jong-un won't last, says his brother

North Korea regime will collapse without reform, says Kim Jong-il's eldest son in new book

The eldest son of the recently deceased dictator Kim Jong-il thinks that the North Korean regime will soon collapse, according to a book to be published later this week.

Kim Jong-nam, who was once thought to be his father's preferred successor as leader of the Communist state, also criticises the rule of his half-brother, Kim Jong-un, calling him a "nominal figure".

The book, which will be eagerly scrutinised by North Korea watchers starved of reliable information about the regime's inner circle in Pyongyang, is written by a Japanese journalist Yoji Gomi who says he carried out a lengthy email exchange with Kim Jong-nam over a period of several years. Its publication comes just a month after the death of Kim Jong-il, who had ruled the secretive country since 1994.

Kim Jong-nam spends most of his time in Macau after being banished from North Korea following an incident in 2001, when he was caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport, allegedly to visit Disneyland.

In the forthcoming book, Kim Jong-nam says it is common practice for high-ranking North Koreans to travel using fake identities, and he also asserts that new leader Kim Jong-un has visited Japan on a forged Brazilian passport.

According to Kim Jong-nam, his father did not want a dynastic transition of power, but eventually came to believe it was the only way to ensure the stability of the regime. North Korean state media has gone to lengths to portray the chubby Kim Jong-un as a worthy successor to his father in the past month.

According to excerpts from the book published yesterday, Kim Jong-nam claims that part of the reason he fell out with his father was that after an education in Switzerland, he returned to North Korea bent on reform. "I grew further apart from my father because I insisted on reform and opening up the market, and was eventually viewed with suspicion," the book quotes the leader's son as writing.

Kim Jong-nam's words also suggest that the mischievous lament "I'm so lonely", sung by a Kim Jong-il puppet in the US satirical film Team America, may actually have been close to the truth. "My father felt very lonely after sending me to study abroad. Then my half brothers Jong-chol and Jong-un and half sister Yeo-jong were born and his adoration moved on to them."

His siblings were given less foreign education, says Kim Jong-nam, after his father became worried that he had "turned into a capitalist" after his time in the West.

Kim Jong-nam writes that he still has good relations with his aunt and uncle, who some see as the real power behind the new regime, but admits that he has never actually met his half brother Kim Jong-un. He predicts, however, that his brother's regime will "not last long", foreseeing a power struggle between different factions. He also suggests that the regime now finds itself in a lose-lose situation. "Without reforms, North Korea will collapse, and if such changes take place, the regime will collapse."

Kim Jong-nam, who has remained out of the limelight in recent years, apparently agreed that his interviews and email correspondence with the journalist could be published. It is perhaps a sign that the dictator's son is ready to become a more public figure. Japanese media also reported last week that Kim Jong-nam has set up a Facebook account under a pseudonym and has made posts mocking his half-brother.

Suggested Topics
News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm that there was a 'minor disturbance'

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teacher Cornwall

£21500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: ***KS1 & KS2 Teachers ...

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album