North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's nephew, in a rare media appearance, said he wished to “make things better” for the people in his country while labeling his uncle a “dictator.”
Kim Han-sol, the 17-year-old grandson of late Kim Jong-il, spoke in an interview to a Finnish television. He is pursuing his studies in Bosnia.
Discussing his dreams of reunification of the two Koreas, Kim Han-sol offered a glimpse into the dynamics of the ruling dynasty of the reclusive Communist nation.
The teenager, sporting pierced ears and styled hair, said he had close friendships with South Korean and American students though his lineage had made their first interactions awkward.
''Through meeting people, I've concluded that I will just take opinions from both sides, see what's good and what's bad, and make my own decisions,'' he was quoted as saying by the BBC.
Continue Reading Below
He recounted his childhood in Pyongyang in the home of his mother's family and isolated from the grandfather he never 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," he said in the interview. "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 Jong-il's eldest son Kim Jong-nam was supposed to be his heir until 2001, but after he was detained in Tokyo in 2001 for using a fake Dominican passport, Kim Jong-il swiftly shunned him in favor of the youngest son. Kim Jong-nam, reportedly overweight and diabetic, later told the media that he had no interest in politics.
Speaking of his uncle Kim Jong-un who inherited North Korea’s leadership, Kim Han-sol said: "I don't really know why he became a dictator. It was between him and my grandfather."
Kim Han-sol spoke in fluent English throughout the interview with Elisabeth Rehn, a former U.N. under secretary general and special rapporteur for Human Rights in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Telegraph reported.
Kim Han-sol drew international attention in October last year, when South Korean media published his pictures and contents of his Facebook page. However, his account was soon blocked, followed by reports that he had enrolled in the United World College in Mostar.
The new interview doesn’t offer any insight into the current relations between Kim Jong-il’s three sons or Kim Jong-nam’s ties with the North Korean leadership.
It was earlier reported that Kim Jong-il disliked his older sons due to their gentle nature, coupled with their interest in music and literature, which made him choose his youngest son as the successor.
Kenji Fujimoto, Kim Jong-il's personal sushi chef, wrote in his memoir, “I Was Kim Jong-il's Cook,” that Jong-il thought his middle son Jong-chul was no good because he is “like a little girl.” Kim Jong-chul made headlines in the Koreas when he was spotted in Singapore on Valentine's Day last year at an Eric Clapton concert.
Kim Jong-chul, who also wrote poetry occasionally, didn't share his father's authoritarian mentality, as was evident from some of his poems published by the media.