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[Editorial] Kim Han-sol spotlight

The international media, including South Korean newspapers and networks, has found a new celebrity in the 16-year-old grandson of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. The activities of Kim Han-sol at an international school in Bosnia are competitively covered by the European, Japanese and Korean media and even his teachers and friends are quoted to reveal more about the character of the fourth-generation member of the Kim Il-sung family.

Han-sol, who shows little difference from his peers as he likes communication through social networking sites and indulges in pop music, is a son of Kim Jong-nam, eldest son of Kim Jong-il, who lives in Macau after losing his father’s favor. It is natural that media curiosity is stretched to the young boy because of the notoriety of his family with all the headaches his grandfather and his roguish regime cause the international community. Yet, we believe that Han-sol, still a minor, had better be spared from media scrutiny.

The seeming normalcy of Han-sol in appearance and SNS conversations contrasts the general peculiarity of his relatives. He professes to be anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-Zionist, pro-communist and pro-religious rights. He says he is against Israel’s occupation of Palestine and for a united Juche (independent) Korea. He appeals to the Western people to understand that “communism is not bad idea” and to read about it from “non-anticommunist sources.”

It may be surprising that Kim Jong-il allows his grandson to be educated in a European institution ― after having his third son Jong-un once attend a private school in Switzerland ― but what the dictator’s teenage descendant says and spends time with have nothing to do with the situation in North Korea.

We are only sorry that the cost of the boy’s rather comfortable schooling overseas, not to mention the luxury enjoyed by his globe-trotting father, must be financed by Bureau 39 in Pyongyang, which stuffs Kim Jong-il’s secret safe with foreign currency slush funds created by the counterfeiting of “super notes,” drug smuggling and extortion. Now that he has been exposed to the Western media and his Facebook and Twitter accounts have been blocked, we expect that Han-sol’s stay with the United World College will not be long.
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