The estranged older brother of Kim Jong Un was reportedly spotted in London Wednesday, the first time he has surfaced since the North Korean leader assumed power in 2011, according to United Press International. Kim Jong Chul, 33, was apparently in Europe to see English rock guitarist Eric Clapton in concert.
Japanese television network TBS identified Kim Jong Chul in video footage from the event, according to UPI. The network said Kim, who appears to have been exiled from his country, had traveled through Beijing and Moscow to attend the concert and that the image “undoubtedly” depicted the older brother of Kim Jong Un. Kim Jong Chul’s last public appearance was in Singapore in 2011, where he had also attended a Clapton concert.
— NorthKoreaRealTime (@BuckTurgidson79) May 21, 2015
Kim Jong Chul was born in 1981 and was the middle son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. Although he was older than Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Chul was passed over to succeed his father because he apparently wasn’t judged to have the potential of his younger brother.
The eldest brother, Kim Jong Nam, also lost his father’s favor and is believed to be living in China in exile.
Like Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Chul was educated in Switzerland. After returning to Pyongyang, he worked for the government’s propaganda department, according to the BBC. Many believed Kim Jong Chul was being groomed as the next leader of North Korea, in part because his mother, Ko Young Hee, was Kim Jong Il’s favorite wife.
But Kim Jong Il reportedly thought Kim Jong Chul was too effeminate to be a leader, according to Kim Jong Il’s defected sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto, who has written several books about his time in North Korea and given multiple interviews with various media outlets since he left the country in 1996.