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Kim Jong-il's half-brother appears to remain in Poland: official

BUDAPEST -- Kim Pyong-il, North Korea's ambassador to Poland and half brother of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, appears to be staying in Warsaw, a South Korean official said Monday.

 "We haven't yet confirmed whether Kim Pyong-il has left Poland or not," an official at the South Korean embassy in Poland said. "There's no evidence that he has left the country."

Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack on Dec. 17, and the North announced the passing two days after the fact. In the immediate aftermath, a North Korean official at Pyongyang's embassy in Warsaw said Kim Pyong-il "grieved deeply" over his half brother's death but that he hadn't yet decided whether to attend the funeral scheduled for Wednesday.

The South Korean official suspected that if the ambassador hasn't yet left for Pyongyang, then he may not make it to the funeral.

Kim Pyong-il received mourners in Warsaw last week, according to officials.

Born to the North's founding leader, Kim Il-sung, and his second wife, Kim Song-ae, Kim Pyong-il was once seen as a rival to Kim Jong-il to succeed his father. When Kim Jong-il started to consolidate power in the 1980s, however, Pyong-il was dispatched abroad as an ambassador to Hungary, Bulgaria and then Finland in apparent political exile. He took up his current post in January 1998.

Kim Pyong-il and Kim Song-ae attended the funeral of Kim Il-sung in 1994, but North Korean television broadcasts deleted their images.


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