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Kim Jong Il's eldest son 'not interested' in succession

  • Story Highlights
  • Kim Jong Nam tells TV Asahi he has no interest in leading North Korea
  • Kim Jong Nam is eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il
  • Rules of succession in secretive communist state unclear
  • Kim Jong Il widely reported to have suffered stroke last year
From Sohn Jie-Ae
CNN
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(CNN) -- The eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, in a rare television interview Tuesday, shed some light on who might eventually take over leadership of the country.

Kim Jong Nam, 35, in southern China's casino haven of Macau on January 30, 2007

Kim Jong Nam, 35, in southern China's casino haven of Macau on January 30, 2007

Kim Jong Nam told TV Asahi in Macau that he does not care about politics or succeeding his father.

"Personally, I am not interested in this issue (succession)," he said in an interview with the Japanese television network. "Sorry, I am not interested in the politics."

The rules governing transfer of power in the secretive communist nation are unclear.

Kim Jong Il rules without challenge and has built a cult of personality around himself and his family.

He is widely reported to have suffered a stroke in August and has been absent from many public functions in recent months.

In April, he named his son Kim Jong Un and brother-in-law, Jang Song Thaek, to the country's powerful National Defense Commission, suggesting his third son may be his heir.

"I hear that news in the media," Kim Jong Nam said. "I think it's true ... however, it is my father's decision. So once he decides, we have to support him." iReport.com: How should the U.S. approach North Korea?

There has been speculation that Kim Jong Nam would defect from North Korea and that a purge of his supporters was under way. He told Asahi he saw no reason for leaving his homeland.

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