Page last updated at 22:40 GMT, Saturday, 24 January 2009

Kim son 'not interested' in power

Man thought to be "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il's son Kim Jong-nam after being detained in Tokyo in 2001
Eldest son Kim Jong-nam said he was visiting China for personal reasons

The eldest son of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il says he has "no interest" in succeeding his father, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports.

"No one can say for sure and only father will decide," Kim Jong-nam told reporters in Beijing.

The comments come amid speculation as to who may succeed the elder Kim, who is rumoured to have suffered a stroke.

Kim Jong-nam reportedly added he had no information about reports his youngest brother Kim Jong-un would get the job.

It is not good to assume and imagine before the decision is made
Kim Jong-nam

"It is not good to assume and imagine before the decision is made," Kim Jong-nam was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Yonhap, citing an unnamed intelligence source, last week named Kim Jong-un as the most likely successor to "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il.

But Japan's Yomiuri newspaper, quoting an unspecified US intelligence report, named Kim Jong-nam as the most likely candidate.

Three brothers

Kim Jong-il, who turns 67 in February, disappeared from public view in 2008, raising health concerns after he failed to make an appearance at a commemorative event in September. It is thought he suffered a stroke in August.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2005
Unlike his father, Kim Jong-il has no clear successor

This week he met a Chinese envoy in the North Korean capital Pyongyang - his first public appearance in months.

Other figures named as possible successors include the second son, Kim Jong-chol, as well as senior figures from the country's powerful military and its ruling communist party, the Worker's Party of Korea.

Kim Jong-il's late wife, Ko Yong-hi, was the mother of both Kim Jong Chol and Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-nam was born to the actress Sung Hae-rim, who is also dead.

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