SEOUL--North Korean watchers are speculating on the guest list for the Dec. 28 funeral of the country's late leader Kim Jong Il, guessing which relatives will attend and who will be excluded.
Given that Kim Jong Il cut off close relatives who could be his rivals from his inner circle of government, the guests on the funeral list may suggest how Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il's third son and designated successor, will treat relatives as well.
"Kim Jong Il's sons who were cut off from political power will likely not appear in public for a while," The Seoul Sinmun reported on Dec. 23.
The newspaper also pointed out that Kim Jong Nam, 40, the eldest son of Kim Jong Il would be "classified as a dangerous individual under the Kim Jong Un regime," supporting the view that only his wife and his son Kim Han Sol will attend the funeral.
The current whereabouts and well-being of Kim Jong Nam and Kim Jong Chol, Kim Jong Un's 30-year-old older brother, remain unknown.
The Seoul newspaper offered the belief that Kim Jong Chol may have already made a condolence visit to Pyongyang, adding that even if he did, his appearance wouldn't be made public.
Some South Korean newspapers speculated that Kim Pyong Il, the 57-year-old half-brother of Kim Jong Il, who is North Korean ambassador to Poland, will possibly attend the funeral.
While he is said to have been trusted by his father, the late Kim Il Sung and founder of North Korea, and was once considered the rival to Kim Jong Il for the country's leadership, he was sidelined and has lived overseas since 1988 and served as the North Korean ambassador to European countries. He has been the ambassador to Poland for 13 years.
Kim Pyong Il attended the funeral of Kim Il Sung in 1994. It also confirmed that he accepted mourners for his half-brother in Warsaw, according to South Korean newspapers.
The Chosun Ilbo reported that there was no reason for Kim Jong Un to refuse to allow the visit of his uncle, who has been expelled for many years.
On the other hand, a South Korean government source said, "Unlike his father's funeral, (Kim Pyong Il) might not attend the funeral of his brother, who had been his rival."
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