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Eldest son of N. Korea's late leader in Beijing under Chinese protection: source

All Headlines 19:00 December 26, 2011

By Kim Kwang-tae

HONG KONG/SEOUL, Dec. 26 (Yonhap) -- The eldest son of North Korea's late leader Kim Jong-il has arrived in Beijing, a source said Monday, as North Korea is preparing a state funeral for Kim.

Kim Jong-nam arrived in Beijing from the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau a few days ago and "has been placed under the Chinese protection," according to the source familiar with Kim's activity.

The source said he arrived in Macau on Dec. 16 and met with the son until his departure to Beijing. It was not clear whether the son will attend the state funeral of his father set for Wednesday in Pyongyang, the source said.

Another source, who has also closely followed Kim Jong-nam for years, said the eldest son did not appear to have entered his home country yet for his father's funeral. The two sources spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the issue's sensitivity.

Kim Jong-nam was born from his father's unofficial relationship with Sung Hae-rim, a South Korean-born actress who died in Moscow in 2002.

Kim Jong-nam has lived abroad for years after apparently falling out of favor with his father for attempting to enter Japan on a fake passport in 2001.

Kim Jong-nam has voiced opposition to his father's power succession to his stepbrother Kim Jong-un.

"Even Chairman Mao Zedong of China did not enforce hereditary succession," Kim was quoted as telling the Tokyo Shimbun in January in an exclusive interview in a southern Chinese city. "(Hereditary succession) does not fit with socialism, and my father was against it as well."


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