Not everyone is enthralled that North Korea’s new leader is none other than Kim Jong Eun, who is reported to be all of 28. Take, for example, the views of his oldest brother, Kim Jong Nam.
Jong Nam, quoted extensively in a recent book that speaks poorly of his brother’s succession, thinks poorly of his younger brother’s governing and leadership abilities. So is he just jealous? Or offering honest views that North Koreans would be wise to consider – if only they were exposed to them?
For starters, Kim Jong Nam reports a true shocker in the book: His father, he claims, was opposed to any kind of third-generation hereditary succession, worrying that “anyone with common sense will see that a transfer of power to the third generation can’t be done.” Next, Kim Jong Nam flatly predicts that the youthful Jong Eun won’t be running things for long: The existing power elite will take over and Kim Jong Eun will morph into no more than a symbolic figure. Says Jong Nam, with some obvious feeling: : “It is questionable how a hereditary successor who has been through (successor) training for only about two years can take over the absolute authority that has continued for 37 years.”
Written by Tokyo-based journalist Yoji Gomi, My Father: Kim Jong-Il, and Me, is a book based on more than 150 email exchanges and seven hours of interviews with Kim Jong Nam since they first met in 2004. One email from the obviously upset North Korean to the Japanese journalist predicts economic collapse unless urgent reform is undertaken.
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