North Korea leader's second son seen at Clapton gig: report

SEOUL Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:21pm EST

1 of 2. A man reported to be Kim Jong Chol, the middle son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, at an Eric Clapton concert in Singapore on February 14, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/KBS via Kyodo

SEOUL (Reuters) - The second son of isolated North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il was seen at a concert by British guitarist Eric Clapton in Singapore, South Korean media said on Wednesday.

Kim Jong-chol, dressed in black pants and a T-shirt, was accompanied by around 20 men and women at the gig on Monday, Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) reported.

The Singapore gig was the second Clapton concert at which Jong-chol has been spotted.

He saw the bluesman play in Germany in 2006, and later he invited Clapton, via the North Korean embassy in Britain, to perform in Pyongyang, though Western popular music is normally banned in the North.

Jong-chol, 29, had been earmarked as a potential successor to Kim Jong-il. He was given low level positions in the ruling party and there were reports that the army supported his rise, but in 2009 his younger brother Jong-un, believed to be his father's favorite, emerged as the front runner.

Last year the succession was formalized with Jong-un's promotion to senior party and military posts.

Jong-un, known only to be in his mid to late twenties, was educated in Switzerland.

Kim Jong-il, who is believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008, is known to have four children, including three sons who apparently have a penchant for American basketball and rock music.

Kim's eldest son Jong-nam is thought to have fallen out of his father's favor, especially after he was deported from Japan on suspicion of trying to enter the country with forged travel documents to go to Tokyo Disneyland.

Jong-nam is now known to live in China and Macau.

The South Korean broadcaster KBS said Jong-chol was seen taking photos in front of the stage in Singapore and talking with the women who accompanied him, adding that his entourage blocked cameras.

North Korea is under a raft of international sanctions, imposed by the U.N. Security Council for nuclear and missile tests over the past six years, but elites are still widely permitted to travel abroad.

Some states, including South Korea and the United States, have slapped further sanctions on the North after accusing it of torpedoing a South Korean warship last year. Pyongyang denies it was to blame.

(Reporting by Jeremy Laurence; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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Comments (2)
ROWnine wrote:
Any chance we could get a run down of how much his dad has squeraled away in swiss bank accounts while the United Nations said it had begun a new assessment of North Korea’s food needs and planned more than 300,000 tons of humanitarian assistance. Who is paying for this assistance while North Korea keeps spending the wealth it gains from the sale of natural resources on arms from China?

Feb 15, 2011 10:25pm EST  --  Report as abuse
i wonder how did he even got into Singapore?

Feb 16, 2011 10:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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