By Yi Whan-woo
North Korean defectors in Europe and the United States had offered Kim Jong-nam to serve as head of a government-in-exile, if one had been established, but he rejected the offer, according to sources, Tuesday.
"He was concerned that accepting such an offer may not help end hereditary succession of power in the repressive regime," a source said.
The source said Kim's paternal half-brother and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may have ordered his death with suspicions that he may join the government-in-exile aimed at eventually overthrowing the regime.
One of the defectors' groups that made the proposals included International North Korean Association for Human Rights and Democracy in London.
The association's secretary general, Kim Joo-il, said he "regularly contacted" Kim Jong-nam until June after they first met face-to-face in China in December 2014.
Kim Jong-nam, who had been staying outside of North Korea for years, was returning from Pyongyang after attending a ceremony to mark the third anniversary of his late father Kim Jong-il's death.
Kim Joo-il asked him to serve as the chief of an envisioned government-in-exile to be led by one of the family members of Kim Jong-un.
But he turned down the proposal, claiming that such a post would be the same as hereditary succession of power in North Korea.
He also said he was not interested in politics, although he was optimistic about reforming North Korea as well as the activities of the defectors.
Km Joo-il made his last offer in June through a university professor in Singapore where Kim Jong-nam was staying at that time.
Although he then lost contact with Kim Jong-nam, Kim Joo-il said his colleagues were planning to discuss whether to find Kim Jong-nam's whereabouts and ask him to lead a government-in-exile at a conference scheduled for April.
Some other defectors' group planned to have either Kim Jong-nam or the late Kim Jong-il's paternal half-brother Kim Pyong-il to lead a government-in-exile, according to the sources.
Kim Pyong-il, who is in his 60s, has served as the North Korean ambassador to several European countries, including Czech Republic, and has lived outside of North Korea since the late 1970s.
The sources said Kim Jong-un may have kept Kim Pyong-il alive because he was cooperative with the young tyrant's rule.
Meanwhile, defectors in South Korea said Tuesday that they will resume their anti-Pyongyang campaign using balloons beginning in March.
Park Sang-hak, who leads Fighters for a Free North Korea, said the campaign will be aimed at revealing the Kim Jong-un regime's involvement in the murder of Kim Jong-nam. He said the balloons will contain leaflets about that news and be sent across the Demilitarized Zone.