- Special Pages
SEOUL: Kim Jong-Il’s teenage grandson has labelled his uncle, North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong-Un, a “dictator” in an interview that offers a rare glimpse into the world’s most secretive ruling dynasty.
During the interview, conducted at the school in Bosnia where he studies, Kim Han-Sol, 17, spoke of his desire to “make things better” for the Korean people.
Sporting wide, black-frame glasses, two studs in his left ear and a fashionable haircut, Kim also talked of his close friendships with South Korean and US students and his hopes for the Korean peninsula’s reunification.
Born in Pyongyang in 1995, Kim described a lonely early childhood, spent mostly in the home of his mother’s family -- isolated from the grandfather he never actually met and who died in December last year.
“I always wanted to meet him, because I just wanted to know what kind of person he is,” Kim said in the interview, which aired on Finnish television and was posted on the YouTube.
“I was actually waiting for him... until he passed away, hoping he would come find me, because I really didn’t know if he knew that I existed,” he said.
Kim, now 17, is the son of Kim Jong-Il’s eldest son Kim Jong-Nam, who fell out of favour with his father following a botched attempt in 2001 to secretly enter Japan using a fake passport and visit Disneyland.
The family has since lived in virtual exile, mainly in the Chinese territory of Macau.
“My dad was not really interested in politics,” Kim said, when asked why his father was passed over for the dynastic succession in North Korea in favour of his younger brother.
“I don’t really know why he became a dictator,” Kim said of his uncle Kim Jung-Un. “It was between him and my grandfather.”
The interview was conducted in English by Elisabeth Rehn, a former UN under secretary general and special rapporteur for Human Rights in Bosnia-Hercegovina, and first broadcast on Monday.
“1995, the year Han-Sol was born, was a dark year in North Korea history. Millions of people starved to death,” ran a caption displayed on the screen during the broadcast
“When I was growing up in North Korea, I wasn’t really aware of what was going on there,” Kim said.
“I’ve always dreamed that one day I would go back and make things better and make it easier for the people there,” he added.
Kim enrolled in the United World College in Mostar last year, arousing intense media interest, which he did his best to avoid.
He gave no indication as to why he had chosen to speak out now, or whether the interview had been sanctioned either by his own family or by Pyongyang.
Speaking of his overseas studies, Kim recalled how it was “kind of awkward” when he first met students from South Korea as well as the United States.
“But then, little by little, we started understanding each other,” he said.Afp