A mystery video of Kim Jong-nam’s son has emerged amid investigation of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s murder.
In the short and censored clip, the young man says: “My name is Kim Han-sol, from North Korea, part of the Kim family.”
Kim Jan-sol says he is with his mother and sister, but there are no details on the date or location. It’s the Kim family’s first public comment since Kim Jong-nam’s assassination in Malaysia.
Kim Jong-nam was killed in a Kuala Lumpur airport on February13 by attackers who smeared his face with VX nerve agent.
Officials at South Korea’s Unification Ministry and National Intelligence Service have confirmed that the man in the video is Kim Han-sol.
The 40-second clip features the man identified as Kim Han-sol sitting against a grey wall. In perfect, slightly accented English, he introduces himself and says: “My father has been killed a few days ago. I’m currently with my mother and my sister.”
Kim Han-sol shows what appears to be a North Korean diplomatic passport to confirm his identity, though the details have been blocked out, and says he is “grateful to…” before the audio and image are censored.
The man ends by saying: “We hope this gets better soon.”
The video was put online by a group called the Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) – they have not previously been heard of, and appear to have registered a website and YouTube account only recently.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said the group presumably assists escaping North Koreans – there is a town south-west of Pyongyang named Cheollima. They sent the video link to the Malaysia correspondent for Channel News Asia.
A message in English on the CCD site said it had responded to a request for protection from “survivors of the family of Kim Jong-nam”.
“We have in the past addressed other urgent needs for protection. This will be the first and last statement on this particular matter, and the present whereabouts of this family will not be addressed.”
The group also thanked several countries for offering emergency humanitarian assistance, including the Netherlands, China and the US and “a fourth government to remain unnamed”, while giving particular thanks to the Netherlands ambassador in South Korea, AJA Embrechts.
Kim Han-sol is believed to be 21, and has lived a low-profile life since his father’s exile, growing up in Macau and China.
In 2012, Kim Han-sol appeared in a TV interview for Finnish TV from Bosnia, where he was studying, saying he had never met his powerful uncle or his grandfather, the late Kim Jong-il.
Kim Han-sol said he had “always dreamed that one day I would go back and make things better and make it easier for the people” of North Korea.
Kim Han-sol, the grandson of the late Kim Jong-il and nephew of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, has given a rare TV interview from Bosnia, where he is studying.
Kim Han-sol, 17, said that he wished to ”make things better” for the people in his country.
He was speaking to former UN Under-Secretary General Elisabeth Rehn in an interview for Finnish television.
Kim Han-sol is the son of Kim Jong-nam, eldest brother of Kim Jong-un, who has been living in Macau and China.
“I’ve always dreamed that one day I would go back and make things better and make it easier for the people there,” said Kim Han-sol, in fluent English.
Sporting ear-studs, styled hair and a black suit, the teenager spoke of his dreams of reunification of the two Koreas in the televised interview.
Kim Han-sol had South Korean friends, he said, and while it was awkward when he first met them, ”little by little” they started to understand each other.
”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 said.
It is not clear why Kim Han-sol agreed to the interview. He first drew international attention in October 2011, when pictures and comments on his Facebook page were reported by South Korean media.
His account was quickly blocked and it was reported that he would be studying at the United World College (UWC) in Mostar.
Kim Han-sol was speaking to former UN Under-Secretary General Elisabeth Rehn in an interview for Finnish television
Elisabeth Rehn is the patron of the UWC initiative in Bosnia. She is also formerly Finland’s Minister of Defence and a UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Kim Han-sol said he had never met his grandfather or uncle. He described an isolated childhood spent mostly in Macau and China, after his birth in Pyongyang in 1995.
He only realized who his grandfather was after putting ”pieces of the puzzle” together as he grew up.
”I was actually waiting for him… till before he passed away, hoping he would come find me, because I really didn’t know if he knew that I existed,” he said.
On the succession, Kim Han-sol added that he did not know how his uncle, Kim Jong-un ”became a dictator”.
“It was between him and my grandfather,” he said.
His father, Kim Jong-nam, 39, was thought to have fallen out of favor in 2001 after he was caught trying to sneak into Japan using a false passport. He told officials that he was planning to visit Tokyo Disneyland.
Kim Jong-nam has maintained a low profile overseas but he was quoted by Japanese TV station Asahi in October 2011 as saying he was opposed to ”dynastic succession”.
“My dad was definitely not really interested in politics,” Kim Han-sol said, when asked why his father was passed over for succession.
As for his own future, he said he pictured himself going to university and then ”volunteering somewhere”.
”I would like to engage in more humanitarian projects… work to contribute to building world peace, especially back home because that is a really important part of me….” he said.
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