Kim Jong-chul: Is North Korea President Kim Jong-un’s Brother Safe?

North Korean President Kim Jong-un’s brother Kim Jong-nam was assassinated on February 13. He was waiting at the airport for a flight in Kuala Lumpur. He was supposed to head to Macau, where he was living all his life. While the autopsy results are still pending, it is suspected that Jong-nam was poisoned by two women who attacked him at the airport. People have started talking about the possibility of Jong-un being responsible for his brother’s death. Nevertheless, not everyone is aware that the North Korean president has another brother, Kim Jong-chul.

Kim Jong-chul was called a "sissy"

Neither Kim Jong-nam nor Kim Jong-chul attended the funeral of their father Kim Jong-il. According to ancient North Korean traditions, potential successors are brought up in separate locations. Reports suggest that these three never met one another. It is believed that they did not attend their father’s funeral for the same reason. President Kim Jong-un’s brothers, Jong-nam and Jong-chul, hardly made public appearances.

Kim Jong-chul As Potential Successor

Kim Jong-chul is Kim Jong-il’s second son. He was born from the North Korean leader’s second wife, Ko Yong-hee. Jong-nam is Jong-il’s first son. While it is common for the first son to become the successor by default, it is interesting how the leader’s youngest son Kim Jong-un became North Korea’s president.

Kim Jong-nam turned out to be too irresponsible to be the successor. When he was arrested at Narita Airport in Tokyo in 2001, he was carrying a false Dominican Republic passport for travel. It was that time when Jong-nam, who was once his father’s favorite son, fell out of favor. Jong-il had to choose between Jong-un, who was a vice chairman of the Workers Party’s Central Military Commission and a four-star general, and Jong-chul, who was more into music than politics.

North Korea President Kim Jong-un’s elder brother Jong-chul was never favored by his father, who thought his second son was “too effeminate.” According to Cho Sun, the father often called Kim Jong-chul a “sissy,” who lacked ambition. Japanese sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto, who worked for Jong-il for more than a decade, wrote about the reason in his book.

“The older brother, Jong-chul, had the warm heart of a girl,” the Globe and Mail quoted Fujimoto as saying. “The younger prince, Jong-un, was a boy of inner strength.”

Kim Jong-chul’s Taste In Music

Jong-chul could have been North Korea’s president, but destiny had other choices for him. He is known to be a huge fan of English guitarist Eric Clapton. In May of 2015, he was spotted at Clapton’s concert in London. The BBC reported that Jong-chul was just like another fan, who was having a great time. Kim Jong-un’s brother was reportedly “singing along to all the words.” According to reports, he attended Clapton concerts in Singapore in 2011 and in Germany in 2006.

Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-nam was assassinated on February 13

Did North Korea President Kim Jong-un Kill His Brother?

Kim Jong-un is accused of using “brutal ways” when dealing with his rivals. He has already been accused of killing his uncle and his girlfriend, who was later found to be alive. Human Rights in North Korea suggested that the North Korean leader might be using anti-aircraft machine guns to execute people.

According to the Telegraph, Jong-nam got a “direct warning” from the North soon after he had criticized his brother to a Japanese journalist. Jong-nam called North Korea President Kim Jong-un a “joke to the outside world.”

Is Kim Jong-chul Safe?

Apparently, Kim Jong-chul has nothing to do with politics. Even though his elder brother Jong-nam was away from power since the very beginning, he did have his opinions. Jong-chul, on the contrary, seems happy in his private life. He seems harmless to the people of power.

Scott A. Snyder, however, raised questions about Jong-un’s intentions after Kim Jong-un’s brother did not make it to their father’s funeral.

“Kim Jong-chol’s absence is disturbing because it raises questions about how far Kim Jong-un might go to squelch even perceived contenders for power,” the director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) wrote.

[Featured Image by Shizuo Kambayashi, Wong Maye-E/File/AP Images]