Hellhounds On His Trail

A camera crew that Fuji TV sent to Europe to trail North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s son and heir has returned with the news that he’s an ardent Eric Clapton fan, according to World Tribune.

Or, at least, the “170 centimetres tall person” the cameras followed across Germany was an Eric Clapton fan. He went to all four of his June 3-7 concerts in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Leipzig and Berlin.

In a documentary with the rather dramatic title, “New Truth About North Korea’s Prince,” the broadcaster stopped short of saying it was definitely Kim Jong-Chol in the shot. But he pointed out that their subject was accompanied by “an apparent girlfriend,” surrounded by an army of bodyguards and looked a lot like the future leader’s late mother.

Apparently, Kim Jong-il’s son is a known Clapton fan. Fuji interviewed former classmates who studied with him in Bern, Switzerland, in the mid-1990s. They all said they were sure it was Kim Jong-Chol on the film.

Experts said the young woman who accompanied Kim was believed to be his partner, although their expertise didn’t stretch to saying if she was his wife or a girlfriend. Both were wearing what the program described as “couple rings.”

Seoul’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that Jong-Chol traveled to France and other European countries earlier this month on state business, but the Korean media isn’t encouraged to keep too close tabs on the country’s present and future leaders.

The June 25th edition of the U.K.’s The Sunday Telegraph spent two pages explaining that North Korea poses a real nuclear threat and it more than likely already has warheads pointing at Washington.

Jong-Chol is widely tipped to become its next leader in preference to elder half-brother Jong-Nam, who dropped down the pecking order after the Japanese authorities caught him, a woman and a child trying to enter their country illegally in May 2001.

– John Gammon