• The Associated Press

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A man believed to be the eldest son of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Il said in a TV Asahi interview aired Tuesday he thinks reports that his youngest brother will become the North’s next leader are true.

“Well, I hear the news by media. I think (it’s) true,” Kim Jong Nam said in an interview with the broadcaster in Macau when asked about recent South Korean media reports on the succession.

Kim, 67, has three known sons with two different mothers and speculation on who will succeed him has grown since he reportedly suffered a stroke last summer. Last week, a South Korean lawmaker and media outlets said the North recently told its diplomatic missions that his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, 26, will be the hermit state’s next leader.

“My father loves very much my brother as his son. I hope he can do his best for North Korean people for their happiness and better life,” Kim Jong Nam said. TV Asahi did not say when the interview took place.

The possible transfer of power in Pyongyang comes amid mounting tension on the Korean Peninsula following the North’s nuclear test in late May and a series of short-range missile launches.

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