The attack on Kim Jong-nam, 39, was foiled after China warned the North Koreans not to attack him on its soil, a South Korean official has said.
Kim Jong-un's aides tried ''to do something to Kim Jong-nam, who has a loose tongue abroad'', the official said, but the plot had been firmly scotched by China.
Advertisement: Story continues below The plan to move against Kim Jong-nam, who lives in self-imposed exile in China, was allegedly fuelled by rumours he might be used as a Chinese puppet ruler in the event of a regime collapse in North Korea.
In the 1990s, Mr Kim, the eldest son of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, seemed on track to succeed his father, but he fell from grace in 2001 after he was caught trying to enter Japan on a forged passport to visit Tokyo Disneyland.
Since then, Mr Kim has lived with his wife and two children, moving between Macau and Beijing, living on a reported $800,000 annual allowance.
He has given often frank interviews to the Japanese and South Korean media.
Last weekend, Mr Kim told Beijing television he had no plans to return to North Korea, and he was opposed to hereditary succession and hinted at the need for economic reforms.
Source: sydney morning herald