Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un (officially transcribed Kim Jong Un; Chosŏn'gŭl김정은; Korean pronunciation: [kim.dzɔŋ.ɯn];[a] born 8 January 1983) is a North Korean politician serving as Supreme Leader of North Korea since 2011 and also serving as the Chairman (previously called first secretary) of the Workers' Party of Korea since 2012. Kim is the second child of Kim Jong-il (1941–2011) and Ko Yong-hui (1952–2004).[5] He is the grandson of Kim Il-sung, who was the first leader of North Korea from 1948 to 1994.[6] Kim is the first North Korean leader who was born after the country's founding.[7]

From late 2010, Kim Jong-un was viewed as heir apparent to the leadership of the DPRK, and following the elder Kim's death, North Korean state television announced him as the "Great Successor".[8] Kim holds the titles of Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea (as First Secretary between 2012 and 2016), Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,[9] and member of the Presidium of the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea, the highest decision-making body in North Korea.[10] Kim was promoted to the rank of Marshal of North Korea in the Korean People's Army on 18 July 2012, consolidating his position as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces[11] and is often referred to as Marshal Kim Jong-un, "the Marshal"[12] or "Dear Respected" by state media.[13]

Kim obtained two degrees, one in physics at Kim Il-sung University, and another as an Army officer at the Kim Il-sung Military University.[14][15]

Forbes magazine ranked Kim the 46th most powerful person in the world in 2013 and the third highest amongst Koreans after Ban Ki-moon and Lee Kun-hee.[16] On 12 December 2013, North Korean news outlets reported that Kim Jong-un had ordered the execution of his uncle Jang Song-thaek due to "treachery".[17] On 9 March 2014, Kim was unopposed when he was elected to the Supreme People's Assembly. He is widely believed to have ordered the assassination of his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, in Malaysia in February 2017.[18][19]

Despite tense relations, North Korea agreed to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Following the Olympics, Kim Jong-un and President Moon Jae-in conducted the April 2018 inter-Korean summit, which marked the first time since the end of the Korean War in 1953 that a North Korean leader entered the South's territory. On 12 June 2018, Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump met for a summit in Singapore, the first-ever talks held between a North Korean leader and a sitting US President, to discuss the North Korean nuclear program.


Kim Jong-un
김정은
Kim Jong-un IKS 2018
Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea
Assumed office
9 May 2016
Deputy
Preceded byHimself
as First Secretary
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission
Assumed office
29 June 2016
DeputyChoe Ryong-hae
First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea
In office
11 April 2012 – 9 May 2016
Deputy
Preceded byKim Jong-il
as General Secretary
Succeeded byHimself
as Chairman
First Chairman of the National Defence Commission
In office
13 April 2012 – 29 June 2016
DeputyKim Yong-chun
Ri Yong-mu
Jang Song-thaek
O Kuk-ryol
Choe Ryong-hae
Hwang Pyong-so
Preceded byKim Jong-il
as Chairman
Succeeded byHimself
as Chairman of the State Affairs Commission
Supreme Commander of the
Armed Forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Assumed office
30 December 2011
Preceded byKim Jong-il
Personal details
Born8 January 1983 (age 36)
(South Korean records)[1]
8 January 1984 (age 35)
(American records)[2][3]
Pyongyang, North Korea
NationalityNorth Korean
Political partyWorkers' Party of Korea
Spouse(s)
Ri Sol-ju (m. 2009)
ChildrenKim Ju-ae and possibly another two
ParentsKim Jong-il
Ko Yong-hui
Alma materKim Il-sung University
Kim Il-sung Military University
Signature
Kim Jong-un's signature
Military service
Allegiance North Korea
Branch/service Korean People's Army
Years of service2010–present
RankMarshal of the DPRK rank insignia.svg Marshal of the Republic
Commands Supreme Commander


Leaders of the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Kim Jong-un or Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong-un (Korean and Chinese characters)
"Kim Jong-un" in Chosŏn'gŭl (top) and hancha (bottom) scripts.
Revised RomanizationGim Jeong(-)eun
McCune–ReischauerKim Chŏngŭn

Early life

Schule Liebefeld-Steinhölzli, Köniz
The Liebefeld-Steinhölzli public school in Köniz, Switzerland, which Kim Jong-un is reported to have attended.

Scarce information on Kim Jong-un's early life comes from North Korean defectors and people who have claimed to witness him abroad, such as during his school attendance in Switzerland. Some of the information has been conflicting and contradictory, perhaps confusing him with his brother, Kim Jong-chul, who also attended school in Switzerland around the same time.

North Korean authorities and state-run media have stated that Kim's birthdate was 8 January 1982,[20] but South Korean intelligence officials believe the actual date is a year later.[1] It is thought that Kim's official birth year was changed for symbolic reasons; 1982 marks 70 years after the birth of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and 40 years after the official birth of his father Kim Jong-il. The US Treasury Department lists Kim Jong-un's official birthdate as 8 January 1984.[21] Former basketball star Dennis Rodman said that this was Kim's birthdate after meeting in September 2013 in North Korea.[1]

Kim Jong-Un was the second of three children Ko Yong-hui bore to Kim Jong-il; his elder brother Kim Jong-chul was born in 1981, while his younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, is believed to have been born in 1987.[22][23]

According to reports first published in Japanese newspapers, he went to school in Switzerland near Bern. First reports claimed he attended the private English-language International School in Gümligen under the name "Chol-pak" or "Pak-chol" from 1993 to 1998.[24] He was described as shy, a good student who got along well with his classmates and was a basketball fan.[25] He was chaperoned by an older student, who was thought to be his bodyguard.[26]

Later, it was reported that Kim Jong-un attended the Liebefeld Steinhölzli state school in Köniz near Bern under the name "Pak-un" or "Un-pak" from 1998 until 2000 as the son of an employee of the North Korean embassy in Bern. Authorities of Köniz confirmed that a student from North Korea, registered as the son of a member of the embassy, attended the school from August 1998 until the autumn of 2000, but were unable to give details about his identity. Pak-un first attended a special class for foreign-language children and later attended the regular classes of the 6th, 7th, 8th, and part of the final 9th year, leaving the school abruptly in the autumn of 2000. He was described as a well-integrated and ambitious student who liked to play basketball.[27] However, his grades and attendance rating are reported to have been poor.[28] The ambassador of North Korea in Switzerland, Ri Chol, had a close relationship with him and acted as a mentor.[29] One of Pak-un's classmates told reporters that he had told him that he was the son of the leader of North Korea.[30][31] According to some reports, Kim was described by classmates as a shy child who was awkward with girls and indifferent to political issues, but who distinguished himself in sports and had a fascination with the American National Basketball Association and Michael Jordan. One friend claimed that he had been shown pictures of Pak-un with Kobe Bryant and Toni Kukoč.[32]

In April 2012, new documents came to light indicating that Kim Jong-un had lived in Switzerland since 1991 or 1992, earlier than previously thought.[33]

The Laboratory of Anatomic Anthropology at the University of Lyon, France, after comparing the picture of the boy Pak-un taken at the Liebefeld Steinhölzli school in 1999 with a picture of Kim Jong-un from 2012 came to the conclusion that the two faces show a conformity of 95%. The head of the institute, Raoul Perrot, a forensic anthropologist, considers it most likely that the two pictures show the same person.[34]

It is believed that the student at the Gümligen International School may not have been Kim Jong-un, but his elder brother Kim Jong-chul. It is not known whether the student known as Pak-un in Liebefeld Steinhölzli lived in Switzerland prior to 1998.[35] All the children of Kim Jong-il are said to have lived in Switzerland, as well as the mother of the two youngest sons, who lived in Geneva for some time.[29]

Most analysts agree that Kim Jong-un attended Kim Il-sung University, a leading officer-training school in Pyongyang, from 2002 to 2007.[36]

In late February 2018, Reuters reported that Kim and his father had used forged passports—supposedly issued by Brazil and dated 26 February 1996—to apply for visas in various countries. Both 10-year passports carry a stamp saying "Embassy of Brazil in Prague". Kim Jong-un's passport records the name "Josef Pwag" and a date of birth of 1 February 1983.[37]

For many years, only one confirmed photograph of him was known to exist outside North Korea, apparently taken in the mid-1990s, when he was eleven.[38] Occasionally other supposed images of him surfaced but were often disputed.[39] It was only in June 2010, shortly before he was given official posts and publicly introduced to the North Korean people, that more pictures were released of Kim, taken when he was attending school in Switzerland.[40] The first official image of him as an adult was a group photograph released on 30 September 2010, at the end of the party conference that effectively anointed him, in which he is seated in the front row, two places from his father. This was followed by newsreel footage of him attending the conference.[41]

Succession

Pre-2010 Party Conference speculation

Kim Jong-un's eldest half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, had been the favorite to succeed, but reportedly fell out of favor after 2001, when he was caught attempting to enter Japan on a fake passport to visit Tokyo Disneyland.[42] Kim Jong-nam was killed in Malaysia in 2017 by suspected North Korean agents.[43]

Kim Jong-il's former personal chef, Kenji Fujimoto, revealed details regarding Kim Jong-un, with whom he had a good relationship,[44] stating that he was favored to be his father's successor. Fujimoto also said that Jong-un was favored by his father over his elder brother, Kim Jong-chul, reasoning that Jong-chul is too feminine in character, while Jong-un is "exactly like his father".[45] Furthermore, Fujimoto stated that "if power is to be handed over then Jong-un is the best for it. He has superb physical gifts, is a big drinker and never admits defeat." Also, according to Fujimoto, Jong-un smokes Yves Saint Laurent cigarettes, loves Johnnie Walker whisky and has a Mercedes-Benz 600 luxury sedan.[46] When Jong-un was 18, Fujimoto described an episode where Jong-un once questioned his lavish lifestyle and asked, "we are here, playing basketball, riding horses, riding jet skis, having fun together. But what of the lives of the average people?"[45] On 15 January 2009, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that Kim Jong-il had appointed Kim Jong-un to be his successor.[42][47]

On 8 March 2009, BBC News reported that Kim Jong-un was on the ballot for elections to the Supreme People's Assembly, the rubber stamp parliament of North Korea.[48] Subsequent reports indicated that his name did not appear on the list of lawmakers,[49] but he was later elevated to a mid-level position in the National Defense Commission, which is a branch of the North Korean military.[50]

The statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang (april 2012)
People paying homage[51] to the statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, April 2012

From 2009, it was understood by foreign diplomatic services that Kim was to succeed his father Kim Jong-il as the head of the Korean Workers' Party and de facto leader of North Korea.[52] He has been named "Yŏngmyŏng-han Tongji" (영명한 동지), which loosely translates to "Brilliant Comrade".[53] His father had also asked embassy staff abroad to pledge loyalty to his son.[54] There have also been reports that citizens in North Korea were encouraged to sing a newly composed "song of praise" to Kim Jong-un, in a similar fashion to that of praise songs relating to Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung.[55] Later, in June, Kim was reported to have visited China secretly to "present himself" to the Chinese leadership, who later warned against North Korea conducting another nuclear test.[56] The Chinese foreign ministry has strongly denied that this visit occurred.[57]

In September 2009, it was reported that Kim Jong-il had secured support for the succession plan, after a propaganda campaign.[58] It is believed by some that Kim Jong-un was involved in the Cheonan sinking[59] and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong[60] to strengthen his military credentials and facilitate a successful transition of power from his father.[61]

Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission

Kim Jong-un was made a daejang, the equivalent of a four-star general in the United States,[62] on 27 September 2010, a day ahead of a rare Workers' Party of Korea conference in Pyongyang, the first time North Korean media had mentioned him by name and despite him having no previous military experience.[63] Despite the promotion, no further details, including verifiable portraits of Kim, were released.[64] On 28 September 2010, he was named vice chairman of the Central Military Commission and appointed to the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, in an apparent nod to become the successor to Kim Jong-il.[65]

On 10 October 2010, Kim Jong-un was alongside his father when he attended the ruling Workers' Party's 65th-anniversary celebration. This was seen as confirming his position as the next leader of the Workers' Party. Unprecedented international press access was granted to the event, further indicating the importance of Kim Jong-un's presence.[66] In January 2011, the regime reportedly began purging around 200 protégés of both Jong-un's uncle-in-law Jang Song-thaek and O Kuk-ryol, the vice chairman of the National Defence Commission, by either detention or execution to further prevent either man from rivaling Jong-un.[67]

Leader of North Korea

Festival Arirang 0001 06
Portraits of Kim Jong-un's father and grandfather (Arirang Festival mass games in Pyongyang)

On 17 December 2011, Kim Jong-il died. Despite the elder Kim's plans, it was not immediately clear after his death whether Jong-un would in fact take full power, and what his exact role in a new government would be.[68] Some analysts had predicted that when Kim Jong-il died, Jang Song-thaek would act as regent, as Jong-un was too inexperienced to immediately lead the country.[69][70]

Following his father's death, Kim Jong-un was hailed as the "great successor to the revolutionary cause of Juche", "outstanding leader of the party, army and people"[71] and "respected comrade who is identical to Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il",[72] and was made chairman of the Kim Jong-il funeral committee. The Korean Central News Agency described Kim Jong-un as "a great person born of heaven", a propaganda term only his father and grandfather had enjoyed.[73] And the ruling Workers' Party said in an editorial, "We vow with bleeding tears to call Kim Jong-un our supreme commander, our leader."[74]

He was publicly declared Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army on 24 December 2011[75] and formally appointed to the position on 30 December 2011 when the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party "courteously proclaimed that the dear respected Kim Jong Un, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK, assumed the supreme commandership of the Korean People's Army".[9]

Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery 32
North Korean soldiers saluting at the Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery in Pyongyang, 2012

On 26 December 2011, the leading North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported that Kim Jong-un had been acting as chairman of the Central Military Commission,[76] and supreme leader of the country, following his father's demise.[77]

On 9 January 2012, a large rally was held by the Korean People's Army in front of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun to honor Kim Jong-un and to demonstrate loyalty.[78]

In 2013, Forbes named Kim Jong-un the World's 46th Most Powerful Person.[79]

Assuming official titles

On 27 March 2012, Kim was elected to the Fourth Conference of the Workers' Party of Korea. On 11 April, that conference wrote the post of general secretary out of the party charter and instead designated Kim Jong-il as the party's "Eternal General Secretary". The conference then elected Kim Jong-un as leader of the party under the newly created title of First Secretary. Kim Jong-un also took his father's post as Chairman of the Central Military Commission, as well as his father's old seat on the Politburo Presidium.[80] In a speech made prior to the Conference, Kim Jong-un declared that "Imbuing the whole society with Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism is the highest programme of our Party".[81] On 13 April 2012, the 5th Session of the 12th Supreme People's Assembly appointed Kim Jong-un Chairman of the National Defence Commission.[82]

On 15 April 2012, during a military parade to commemorate Kim Il-sung's centenary, Kim Jong-un made his first public speech, Let Us March Forward Dynamically Towards Final Victory, Holding Higher the Banner of Songun.[83] That speech became the basis of a hymn dedicated to him, "Onwards Toward the Final Victory".[84]

In July 2012,[85] Kim Jong-un was promoted to wonsu (translated as marshal), the highest active rank in the military. The decision was jointly issued on by the Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea, the National Defence Commission, and the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, the Korean Central News Agency subsequently announced.[11] The only higher rank is Dae Wonsu (roughly translated as Grand Marshal or Generalissimo) which was held by Kim's grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and which was awarded posthumously to his father, Kim Jong-il, in February 2012.[11][85] The promotion confirmed Kim's role as top leader of the North Korean military and came days after the replacement of Chief of General Staff Ri Yong-ho by Hyon Yong-chol.[11]

External image
Satellite imagery show the message "Long Live General Kim Jong-un, the Shining Sun!" in Korean on a hillside.

In November 2012, satellite photos revealed a half-kilometer-long (1,600 ft) propaganda message carved into a hillside in Ryanggang Province, reading, "Long Live General Kim Jong-un, the Shining Sun!"[86]

Kim Jong-il's personal chef Kenji Fujimoto stated, "Stores in Pyongyang were brimming with products and people in the streets looked cheerful. North Korea has changed a lot since Kim Jong-un assumed power. All of this is because of leader Kim Jong-un."[87]

Kim Jong Il Books (33012753981)
A selection of Kim Jong-un's works

Officially, Kim Jong-un is part of a triumvirate heading the executive branch of the North Korean government along with Premier Kim Jae-ryong (no relation) and parliament president Choe Ryong-hae. Each nominally holds powers equivalent to a third of a president's powers in most presidential systems. Kim Jong-un commands the armed forces, Kim Jae-ryong heads the government, and Choe Ryong-hae handles foreign relations. Nevertheless, it is generally understood that Kim Jong-un, like his father and grandfather before him, exercises absolute control over the government and the country. Indeed, a constitutional amendment enacted by his father explicitly named the NDC (first) chairman as "the supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea".[88]

On 30 November 2012, Kim met with Li Jianguo, who "briefed Kim on the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China", according to the state's official news agency, the Korean Central News Agency.[89] A letter from Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, was hand-delivered during the discussion.[89]

In 2013, Kim re-established his grandfather's style when he made his first New Year's address, a break from the approach of his father. Kim Jong-il never made televised addresses during his 17 years in power.[90] In lieu of delivering a speech, Kim Jong-il contributed to and approved a New Year's Day editorial, jointly published by Rodong Sinmun (the daily newspaper of the Korean Workers' Party), Joson Inmingun (the newspaper of the Korean People's Army), and Chongnyon Jonwi (the newspaper of the Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League).[91] At the extraordinary meeting with his top defense and security officials on 26 January 2013, Kim issued orders on preparations for a new nuclear test and introduced martial law in North Korea effective from 29 January.[92]

On 9 March 2014, Kim Jong-un was elected to a seat in the Supreme People's Assembly, the country's unicameral legislature. He ran unopposed, but voters had the choice of voting yes or no. There was a record turnout of voters and, according to government officials, all voted "yes" in his home district of Mount Paekdu.[93] The Supreme People's Assembly subsequently elected him first chairman of the National Defense Commission.[94]

0921 - Nordkorea 2015 - Pjöngjang - Public Viewing am Bahnhofsplatz (22584958809)
People in Pyongyang watch Kim Jong-un on North Korean TV, 2015

In May 2014, following the collapse of an apartment building in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-un was said to be very upset at the loss of life that resulted. A statement issued by the country's official news agency the Korean Central News Agency used the rare expression "profound consolation and apology". An unnamed government official was quoted by the BBC as saying Kim Jong-un had "sat up all night, feeling painful".[95] While the height of the building and the number of casualties was not released, media reports described it is a 23-story building and indicated that more than a hundred people may have died in the collapse.[96]

Economic policies

A set of comprehensive economic measures, the "Socialist Corporate Responsible Management System", were introduced in 2013.[97] The measures increase the autonomy of enterprises by granting them "certain rights to engage in business activities autonomously and elevate the will to labor through appropriately implementing the socialist distribution system". Another priority of economic policies that year was agriculture, where the pojon (vegetable garden) responsibility system was implemented. The system reportedly achieved a major increase in output in some collective farms.[97] North Korean media were describing the economy as a "flexible collectivist system" where enterprises were applying "active and evolutionary actions" to achieve economic development.[98] These reports reflect Kim's general economic policy of reforming management, increasing the autonomy and incentives for economic actors. This set of reforms known as the "May 30th measures" reaffirms both socialist ownership and "objective economic laws in guidance and management" to improve living standards. Other objectives of the measures are to increase the availability of domestically manufactured goods on markets, introduction of defence innovations into the civilian sector and boost international trade.[98]

There has been a construction boom in Pyongyang, bringing colour and creative architectural styles to the city. While in the past there was a concentration on building monuments, Kim Jong-un's government has constructed amusement parks, aquatic parks, skating rinks, a dolphinarium and a ski resort.[99][100]

Purges and executions

As with all reporting on North Korea, reports of purges and executions are difficult to verify.[101] In May 2016, analysts were surprised to find that General Ri Yong-gil, reported by South Korea to have been executed earlier in the year, was, in fact, alive and well.[102]

In December 2013, Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-thaek was arrested and executed for treachery.[103] Jang is believed to have been executed by firing squad. Yonhap has stated that, according to multiple unnamed sources, Kim Jong-un has also put to death members of Jang's family, to completely destroy all traces of Jang's existence through "extensive executions" of his family, including the children and grandchildren of all close relatives. Those reportedly killed in Kim's purge include Jang's sister Jang Kye-sun, her husband and ambassador to Cuba, Jon Yong-jin, and Jang's nephew and ambassador to Malaysia, Jang Yong-chol. The nephew's two sons were also said to have been killed.[104] At the time of Jang's removal, it was announced that "the discovery and purge of the Jang group ... made our party and revolutionary ranks purer ..."[105] and after his execution on 12 December 2013 state media warned that the army "will never pardon all those who disobey the order of the Supreme Commander".[106]

O Sang-hon (Chosŏn'gŭl오상헌; RRO Sangheon; MRO Sanghŏn) was a deputy security minister in the Ministry of People's Security in the government of North Korea who was reportedly killed in a political purge in 2014. According to the South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo, O was executed by flamethrower for his role in supporting Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-taek.[107]

Human rights violations

Human rights violations under the leadership of Kim Jong-il were condemned by the UN General Assembly.[108] Press reports indicate that they are continuing under Kim Jong-un.[109]

The 2013 report on the situation of human rights in North Korea[110] by United Nations Special Rapporteur Marzuki Darusman proposed a United Nations commission of inquiry[111] to document the accountability of Kim Jong-un and other individuals in the North Korean government for alleged crimes against humanity.[112] The report of the commission of inquiry[113] was published in February 2014 and recommends making him accountable for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.[114]

In July 2016, the United States Department of the Treasury imposed personal sanctions on Kim. Although his involvement in human rights abuses was cited as the reason,[115] officials said the sanctions target the country's nuclear and missile programs.[116]

In June 2017, President Trump condemned Kim Jong-un's "brutal" regime and described Kim as a "madman" after the death of American student Otto Warmbier who had been imprisoned during a visit to North Korea.[117]

Alleged 2017 CIA assassination attempt

In May 2017, the North Korean government stated that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States and the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS) hired a North Korean lumberjack who worked in Russia to assassinate Kim Jong-un with a "biochemical weapon" that was both radioactive and nano-poisonous, and whose effect would have been delayed by a few months.[118] North Korea said that it would seek extradition of anyone involved in the assassination attempt.[119]

Nuclear weapons development

Unha-9 rocket model
Model of a Unha-9 rocket on display at a floral exhibition in Pyongyang, 30 August 2013

Under Kim Jong-un, North Korea has continued to develop nuclear weapons. At a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party held on 31 March 2013, Kim Jong-un announced that North Korea will adopt "a new strategic line on carrying out economic construction and building nuclear armed forces simultaneously".[120]

According to several analysts, North Korea sees the nuclear arsenal as vital to deter an attack, and it is unlikely that North Korea would launch a nuclear war.[121] According to a RAND Corporation senior researcher, Kim Jong-un believes that nuclear weapons are his guarantee of regime survival.[122] During the 7th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea in 2016, Kim Jong-un stated that North Korea would "not use nuclear weapons first unless aggressive hostile forces use nuclear weapons to invade on our sovereignty".[123] However, on other occasions, North Korea has threatened "pre-emptive" nuclear attacks against a US-led attack.[124] In December 2015, Kim stated that his family "turned the DPRK into a powerful nuclear weapons state ready to detonate a self-reliant A-bomb and H-bomb to reliably defend its sovereignty and the dignity of the nation".[125]

In January 2018, estimates of North Korea's nuclear arsenal ranged between 15 and 60 bombs, probably including hydrogen bombs. In the opinion of analysts, the Hwasong-15 missile is capable of striking anywhere in the United States.[126]

The United Nations enacted a series of sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear program and missile tests.[127]

Détente

2018 inter-Korean summit 01
Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in shake hands during the 2018 inter-Korean Summit, April 2018
Kim and Trump shaking hands at the red carpet during the DPRK–USA Singapore Summit
Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands at the start of the 2018 North Korea–United States Summit, June 2018
Secretary Pompeo and Chairman Kim Attend Working Lunch in Pyongyang (44430194844)
Kim and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang, October 2018

In his 2018 New Year Speech, Kim announced that he was open to dialogue with South Korea with a view to take part in the upcoming Winter Olympics in the South.[128] The Seoul–Pyongyang hotline was reopened after almost two years.[129] North and South Korea marched together in the Olympics opening ceremony, and fielded a united women's ice hockey team that finished eighth.[130] In addition to the athletes, Kim sent an unprecedented high-level delegation including his sister, Kim Yo-jong, and President of the Presidium, Kim Yong-nam, and performers such as the Samjiyon Orchestra.[131] On 5 March, he arranged a meeting with South Korea's Chief of the National Security Office, Chung Eui-yong.[132]

Chinese media announced that Kim had visited Beijing on 26 March.[133][134] This was confirmed by the North Korean state press outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 28 March.[135]

At the April 2018 inter-Korean summit, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in signed the Panmunjom Declaration, pledging to convert the Korean Armistice Agreement into a full peace treaty, formally ending the Korean War, by the end of the year.[136][137][138]

From 7–8 May, Kim made a second visit to China, meeting with General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping in Dalian.[139]

On 26 May, Kim had a second and unannounced meeting the North Korean side of Panmunjom, meeting with Moon to discuss the summit with Donald Trump.[140][141]

On 10 June, Kim arrived in Singapore and met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.[142] On June 12, Kim met Donald Trump for a summit and signed a declaration, affirming a commitment to peace and nuclear disarmament.[143]

In September, Kim held another summit with Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang. Kim agreed to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons facilities if the United States took reciprocal action. The two governments also announced that they would establish buffer zones on their borders to prevent clashes.[144]

Personality

Kenji Fujimoto, a Japanese chef who claims to have worked as Kim Jong-il's personal cook, described Kim Jong-un as "a chip off the old block, a spitting image of his father in terms of face, body shape, and personality".[145] According to the cook, Jong-un is a big fan of The Beatles and Jean-Claude Van Damme.[146]

The Washington Post reported in 2009 that Kim Jong-un's school friends recalled he "spent hours doing meticulous pencil drawings of Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan".[147] He was obsessed with basketball and computer games.[32][148] On 26 February 2013, Kim Jong‑un met Dennis Rodman,[149] which led many reporters to speculate that Rodman was the first American that Kim had met.[150] Rodman described his trip to Kim Jong-un's private island, "It's like Hawaii or Ibiza, but he's the only one that lives there."[151]

In July 2012, Kim Jong-un showed a change in cultural policy from his father by attending a Moranbong Band concert. The concert contained several elements of pop culture from the West, particularly the United States. Kim used this event to debut his wife to the public, an unprecedented move in North Korea.[152]

During Dennis Rodman's trip, Vice magazine correspondent Ryan Duffy observed that "the leader was 'socially awkward' and didn't make eye contact when shaking hands".[153]

According to Cheong Seong-chang of the Sejong Institute, Kim Jong-un has greater visible interest in the welfare of his people and engages in greater interaction with them than his father did.[154]

South Koreans who saw Kim at the summit in April 2018 described him as straightforward, humorous, and attentive.[155] After meeting him, Donald Trump said, "I learned he was a talented man. I also learned he loves his country very much." He added that Kim had a "great personality" and was "very smart".[156]

Health

In 2009, reports suggested that Kim Jong-un was a diabetic and suffered from hypertension.[54][157] He is also known to smoke cigarettes.[158]

Kim Jong-un did not appear in public for six weeks in September and October 2014. State media reported that he was suffering from an "uncomfortable physical condition". Previously he had been seen limping.[159] When he reappeared, he was using a walking stick.[160]

In September 2015, the South Korean government commented that Kim appeared to have gained 30 kg in body fat over the previous five years, reaching a total estimated body weight of 130 kg (290 lb).[161]

China's Shenzhen Satellite TV reported on Jan. 19, 2013 that it had confirmed that Kim Jong-un had undergone plastic surgery to look like his grandfather Kim Il-sung. Referring to a Chinese diplomat who visited North Korea during the broadcast, Chinese journalist Guan Yao said, "When our diplomat visited North Korea, we told the North Korean diplomat that Kim Jong Un looked just like his grandfather Kim Il Sung," and he answered, "We had cosmetic surgery." Xinhua reportedly linked both Seoul-based and Pyongyang-based correspondents to track how and why the reports were reported. "There have never been any reports related to Kim Jong Un's plastic surgery in North Korea," a Pyongyang-based correspondent said, according to Xinhua.

Family

Chung Eui-yong and Kim Jong-un
Kim (holding envelope) with Chung Eui-yong. Kim's sister Kim Yo-jong (on the right) is said to be very close to him.

On 25 July 2012, North Korean state media reported for the first time that Kim Jong-un is married to Ri Sol-ju (리설주).[162][163] Ri, who was believed to be in her early 20s, had been accompanying Kim Jong-un to public appearances for several weeks prior to the announcement.[163] According to a South Korean analyst, Kim Jong-il had hastily arranged the marriage after suffering a stroke in 2008, the two married in 2009, and they had a child in 2010.[164] Dennis Rodman, after visiting in 2013, reported that they had a daughter named Ju-ae.[165][166] However, South Korean sources speculated that they could have many children.[167]

Kim is sometimes accompanied by his younger sister Kim Yo-jong,[22][23] who is said to be instrumental in creating his public image and organising public events for him.[168] According to Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, and others, the promotion of Kim Yo-jong and others is a sign that "the Kim Jong-un regime has ended its co-existence with the remnants of the previous Kim Jong-il regime by carrying out a generational replacement in the party's key elite posts".[169][170]

On 13 February 2017, Kim Jong-nam, the exiled half-brother of Kim Jong-un, was assassinated with the nerve agent VX while walking through Terminal 2 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.[171]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The given name Jong-un / Jong Un is pronounced Korean pronunciation: [tsɔŋ.ɯn] in isolation.

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  168. ^ Sherwell, Phillip (8 January 2017). "Sister helps Kim strut his stuff as key missile test looms". The Times. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  169. ^ McCurry, Justin (9 October 2017). "Meet Kim Yo-jong, the sister who is the brains behind Kim Jong-un's image". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
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  171. ^ "Kim Jong-nam killing: VX nerve agent 'found on his face'". BBC News. 24 February 2017. Archived from the original on 24 February 2017.

Further reading

  • Bechtol, Bruce E., Jr. (2014). North Korea and Regional Security in the Kim Jong-un Era: A New International Security Dilemma. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-40007-9.
  • French, Paul (2016). Our Supreme Leader: The Making of Kim Jong-un. London: Zed Books. ISBN 978-1-78360-900-0.
  • Kim Jong Un Aphorisms (PDF). 1. Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House. 2016. ISBN 978-9946-0-1430-2.
  • Lee, Kyo-Duk; Lim, Soon-Hee; Cho, Jeong-Ah; Song, Joung-Ho (2013). Study on the Power Elite of the Kim Jong Un Regime (PDF). Study Series 13-01. Seoul: Korea Institute for National Unification. ISBN 978-89-8479-708-6.
  • Thak Song-il; An Su-yong, eds. (January 2014). Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un in the Year 2012 (PDF). Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House. ISBN 978-9946-0-1192-9.
  • An Chol-gang, ed. (November 2014). Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un in the Year 2013 (PDF). Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House. ISBN 978-9946-0-1192-9.
  • Thak Son-il; An Su-yong (2017). Anecdotes of Kim Jong Un's Life. Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House. ISBN 978-9946-0-1530-9.
  • Thak Song-il, ed. (2018). Son of the People (PDF). Translated by Mun Myong-song; Jong Myong-jin. Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House. ISBN 978-9946-0-1719-8.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Kim Jong-il
Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea
First Secretary: 2012–2016

2016–present
Incumbent
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
Acting: 2011–2012

2012–present
Leader of the Presidium of the Politburo
of the Workers' Party of Korea
Acting: 2011–2012

2012–present
New office Vice Chairman of the
Central Military Commission

2010–2012
Served alongside: Ri Yong-ho
Succeeded by
Choe Ryong-hae
& Ri Yong-ho
Political offices
Preceded by
Kim Jong-il
Supreme Leader of North Korea
2011–present
Incumbent
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission
National Defence Commission: 2012–2016

2016–present
Military offices
Preceded by
Kim Jong-il
Supreme Commander of the
Korean People's Army

2011–present
Incumbent
2018 North Korea–United States Singapore Summit

The 2018 North Korea–United States Singapore Summit, commonly known as Singapore Summit, was a summit meeting between North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump, held at the Capella Hotel, Sentosa, Singapore. This was the first-ever meeting between leaders of North Korea and the United States. They signed a joint statement, agreeing to security guarantees for North Korea, new peaceful relations, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, recovery of soldiers' remains, and follow-up negotiations between high-level officials. Both leaders also met separately with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Immediately following the summit, President Trump announced that the U.S.military would discontinue "provocative" joint military exercises with South Korea, and stated that he wished to bring the U.S. soldiers back home at some point, but he reinforced that it was not part of the Singapore equation. On August 1, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed the military budget bill for 2019, forbidding funding the reduction of active USFK personnel below 22,000; significant removal of US forces is considered a non-negotiable item in denuclearization talks with the North.After a period of heightened conflict that included North Korea successfully testing what it claims was its first hydrogen bomb and the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in late 2017, tensions began to de-escalate after Kim Jong-un announced his desire to send athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics being held in South Korea. During the games, Kim proposed talks with South Korea to plan an inter-Korean summit. On March 8, the South Korean delegation returned from the talks and traveled to the United States to deliver an invitation by Kim Jong-un to Donald Trump for a meeting. High-level exchanges between the two sides then took place, including a visit by then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang and a visit by Kim Yong-chol, Vice Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, to the White House. Both sides threatened to cancel the summit after a round of joint military exercises by the U.S. and South Korea, with Trump even delivering a formal letter to Kim to call off the meeting; however, the two sides eventually agreed to meet.

A second meeting was held between Trump and Kim in February 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

2018 in North Korea

2018 in North Korea was marked by attempts by the government to develop its international relationships, particularly in regards to South Korea. In February, North Korean athletes marched alongside their South Korean counterparts under the Korean Unification Flag at the 2018 Seoul Olympic Games. North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un met with South Korea’s Moon Jae-in three times during the year. Kim also travelled to Beijing to meet with China’s Xi Jinping, and to Singapore for talks with USA's Donald Trump.

2019 North Korea–United States Hanoi Summit

The 2019 North Korea–United States Hanoi Summit, commonly known as the Hanoi Summit, was a two-day summit meeting between North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump, held at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27–28, 2019. This was the second meeting between the leaders of the DPRK and the United States, following the first meeting in June 2018 in Singapore.

On February 28, 2019, the White House announced that the summit was cut short and that no agreement was reached. Trump later elaborated that it was because North Korea wanted an end to all sanctions. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho asserted that the country only sought a partial lifting of five United Nations sanctions placed on North Korea during 2016–17.

April 2018 inter-Korean summit

The April 2018 inter-Korean summit took place on April 27, 2018 on the South Korean side of the Joint Security Area, between Moon Jae-in, President of South Korea, and Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, and Supreme Leader of North Korea. The summit was the third inter-Korean summit – and the first in eleven years. It was also the first time since the end of the Korean War in 1953 that a North Korean leader entered the South's territory; President Moon also briefly crossed into the North's territory.The summit took place after the two sides held several meetings in preparation for the joint attendance at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The idea initially was brought forward through an official invitation from the North to conduct a meeting. The summit was focused on the North Korean nuclear weapons program and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The Panmunjom Declaration was made following the summit.

Censorship in North Korea

Censorship in North Korea ranks among some of the most extreme in the world, with the government able to take strict control over communications. North Korea is ranked at the bottom of Reporters Without Borders' annual Press Freedom Index, occupying the last place in 2017.

All media outlets are owned and controlled by the North Korean government. As such, all media in North Korea get their news from the Korean Central News Agency. The media dedicate a large portion of their resources toward political propaganda and promoting the personality cult of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un. The government of Kim Jong-un still has absolute authority over and control of the press and information.

Choe Ryong-hae

Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae (born 15 January 1950) is a North Korean politician and military official who has served as President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly and First Vice Chairman of the State Affairs Commission since April 2019. He is also a member of the Presidium of the Politburo and Vice Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). He also served as Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un's military second-in-command.

Government of North Korea

In the North Korean government, the Cabinet is the administrative and executive body. The North Korean government consists of three branches: administrative, legislative, and judicial. However, they are not independent of each other.

Jang Song-thaek

Jang Song-thaek (Korean: [tɕaŋ sʌŋ.tʰɛk]; also romanized as Jang Sung-taek, Chang Sŏng-t'aek and other variations; January or February 1946 – 12 December 2013) was a leading figure in the government of North Korea. He was married to Kim Kyong-hui, the only daughter of North Korean President Kim Il-sung, and only sister of North Korean General Secretary Kim Jong-il. He was therefore the uncle-in-law of current leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un.Although the precise extent of Jang Song-thaek's power and position during his life cannot be confirmed, in 2008 South Korean government officials and academic North Korea experts suggested that he had taken on de facto leadership over North Korea while Kim Jong-il's health was declining and when Kim subsequently died. Jang was vice-chairman of the National Defence Commission, a position considered second only to that of the Supreme Leader. He is believed to have been promoted to four-star general around the time of Kim Jong-il's death as his first appearance in uniform was while visiting Kim lying in state. Jang was considered a "key policy adviser" to Kim Jong-un.In December 2013, Jang was abruptly accused of being a counter-revolutionary and was stripped of all his posts and expelled from the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). His photos were removed from official media and his image digitally removed from photos with other North Korean leaders. On 13 December, North Korea state media announced he had been executed. There have been external reports that many members of his family have also been killed.

Kim Jae-ryong

Kim Jae-ryong (김재룡) is the Premier of North Korea, serving in that position since April 2019. He is also a member of the Supreme People's Assembly.

Kim Jong-nam

Kim Jong-nam (Chosŏn'gŭl: 김정남; Hancha: 金正男, Korean: [kim.dzʌŋ.nam]; 10 May 1971 – 13 February 2017) was the eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. From roughly 1994 to 2001, he was considered the heir apparent to his father. He was thought to have fallen out of favour after embarrassing the regime in 2001 with a failed attempt to visit Tokyo Disneyland with a false passport although Kim himself said his loss of favour had been due to advocating reform.

Kim was exiled from North Korea c. 2003, becoming an occasional critic of his family's regime. His younger paternal half-brother, Kim Jong-un, was named heir apparent in September 2010. Kim died on 13 February 2017 in Malaysia as the result of an apparent assassination conducted by North Korea using VX nerve agent.

Kim Yo-jong

Kim Yo-jong (Korean: 김여정, born 26 September 1988) is the younger sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. She is also the youngest daughter of late leader Kim Jong-il and granddaughter of late founder Kim Il-sung. She is an alternate member of the Politburo (Political Bureau) and Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK).

Kim dynasty (North Korea)

The Kim dynasty, referred to in North Korea as the Mount Paektu Bloodline, is a three-generation lineage of North Korean leadership descended from the country's first leader, Kim Il-sung. In 1948, Kim came to rule the North after the end of Japanese rule

in 1945 split the region. He began the Korean War in 1950 in an attempt to reunify the Korean Peninsula. In the 1980s, Kim developed a cult of personality closely tied to their state philosophy of Juche, which was later passed on to his two successors: his son Kim Jong-il and grandson Kim Jong-un.

Kim–Xi meetings

Kim–Xi meetings is a series of summits between North Korea and China during the year 2018 and 2019. North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un secretly met with Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping on March 25–28, 2018. Xi made a classified invitation to Kim to visit China, after which Kim visited Beijing used his bullet proof train to travel to the three-day meeting. It is his first known out-of-country diplomatic trip since taking power. Kim and Xi had a second surprise meeting on May 7–8, 2018 in the city of Dalian. Kim and Xi had a third surprise meeting on June 19–20, 2018. Kim and Xi had a fourth surprise meeting on January 7–10, 2019 in Beijing.

List of international trips made by Kim Jong-un

The following is a list of international trips made by Kim Jong-un during his tenure as Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission and Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea. He has made six foreign trips to four countries since he took office as Supreme Leader of North Korea in 2011. His first international state visit was to China in March 2018.

The number of visits per country where he traveled are:

Four visits to China

One visit to Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam

List of leaders of North Korea

This article lists the political leaders of North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

At the end of World War II, Soviet Union occupied the northern half of Korea and in 1946 established the Provisional People's Committee for North Korea chaired by Kim Il-sung. On 9 September 1948, the DPRK was proclaimed, also led by Kim Il-sung.

The supreme leaders of the DPRK have been Kim Il-sung, his son Kim Jong-il, and his grandson Kim Jong-un. In this role they have not held consistent titles, though they were each leaders of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK)—titled as Chairman from 1948 to 1966, General Secretary from 1966 to 2011, First Secretary from 2011 to 2016, and finally Chairman again since 2016—for almost all of their period in power. Even though they have the appearance of a dynasty, succession is informal.

From 1948 to 1972, the nominal head of state was the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA). In 1972, the constitution was amended to create an executive presidency. Kim Il-sung, who had served as Premier of North Korea since the DPRK's inception, was unanimously elected President of North Korea by the Supreme People's Assembly on December 28. He held this office until his death on 8 July 1994 when he was proclaimed the "eternal President of the Republic". Since then, the practical functions of the head of state have been exercised by the President of the Presidium of the SPA.

After the death of Kim Il-sung, his son Kim Jong-il was understood to have inherited his father's near-absolute control over the country. Although he had been his father's designated successor since at least 1991, it took him three years to fully consolidate his power. He was elected general secretary of the party in 1997, and was reelected Chairman of the National Defence Commission (NDC) in 1998. During his rule he was given a range of titles. He ruled the country until his death on 17 December 2011. He was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-un, who was revealed to be in charge of the country since his father's death by the Rodong Sinmun and finally publicly acknowledged as supreme leader at the military review ending Kim Jong-il's funeral on 29 December 2011.

The government is headed by the Premier of the Cabinet, formerly called Premier of the Administration Council.

Other important institutions include the SPA, whose sessions are chaired by the Chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly, and, since 1993, the Chairman of the NDC–since 2016, known as the State Affairs Commission–which holds supreme command of the DPRK's armed forces.

While two other parties, the Korean Social Democratic Party and the Chondoist Chongu Party, nominally exist, only the WPK holds any power at the national level. The other parties, and indeed all other mass organizations in the country, are completely subservient to the WPK. They exist solely to keep up the appearance that the country is a pluralist society. Almost nothing is mentioned about the minor parties except the names of their current leaders.Since 1997, the SPA chairman, premier and NDC/SAC chairman have officially formed a triumvirate heading the executive branch, with powers equivalent to one-third of a president's powers in other presidential systems. The SPA chairman conducts foreign affairs and receives the credentials of ambassadors, the premier handles domestic policy and the NDC/SAC chairman commands the armed forces. In practice, however, the real power is vested in the SAC chairman (who has also been leader of the WPK), an office constitutionally defined as the "highest post in the state”.

List of officials purged and executed by Kim Jong-un

This is a list of officials purged and executed by Kim Jong-un since he came to power in North Korea in December 2011.

Panmunjom Declaration

The Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula was adopted between the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, and the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, on April 27, 2018, during the 2018 inter-Korean Summit on the South Korean side of the Peace House in the Joint Security Area.

According to the declaration, the governments of North Korea and South Korea agreed to cooperate on officially ending the Korean War and the Korean conflict, beginning a new era of peace and sharing commitments in ending divisions and confrontation by approaching a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity and improvements to inter-Korean communication and relations.This declaration includes the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Ri Sol-ju

Ri Sol-ju or Lee Seol-ju (Chosŏn'gŭl: 리설주; born c. 1985–89) is the current First Lady of North Korea and wife of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.Little is known about her from official North Korean sources but outside sources have speculated more about her background. She is believed to have three children, though this is not known for certain. She has appeared numerous times in public with her husband. In April 2018, her title was elevated in state media from merely "comrade" to "respected first lady", considered a significant honor and the first time the title has been used since 1974.

Visa policy of North Korea

Visitors to North Korea must obtain a visa from one of the North Korean diplomatic missions.

Select[α] family tree of North Korea's ruling[β] Kim family[γ][δ][ε]
Kim Bo-hyon
1871–1955
Kim Hyong-jik
1894–1926
Kang Pan-sok
1892–1932
Kim Jong-suk
1919[ζ]–1949
Kim Il-sung
1912–1994
Kim Song-ae
1924–2014
Kim Yong-ju
1920–
Kim Young-sook
1947–
Song Hye-rim
1937–2002
Kim Jong-il
1941[ζ]–2011
Ko Yong-hui
1952–2004
Kim Ok
1964–
Kim Kyong-hui
1946–
Jang Song-thaek
1946–2013
Kim Pyong-il
1954–
Kim Sol-song
1974–
Kim Jong-nam
1971–2017
Kim Jong-chul
1981–
Kim Jong-un
1984–
Ri Sol-ju
c. 1986
Kim Yo-jong
1987–
Kim Han-sol
1995–
Kim Ju-ae
c. 2012[ζ]
Notes:
  1. ^ To keep the tree of manageable size, it omits some members, e. g., brothers and sisters of Kim Jong-il.
  2. ^ Names of Supreme Leaders of the DPRK (and the name of the article being viewed, if any) are in bold font.
  3. ^ Korean names often have a variety of transliterations into English, which can be confusing. For example, "Kim Jong-chul" may also be written "Gim Jeong-cheol" or "Kim Jŏng-ch'ŏl" among many other variations. See Korean romanization for more information.
  4. ^ Huss, Kan; Frost, Clay. "North Korea's First Family: Mapping the personal and political drama of the Kim clan". msnbc.com. Retrieved 20 January 2013. (Confirms many, but not all, of the birth and death years. See individual articles for more references.)
  5. ^ Yan, Holly (16 February 2017). "The world's most mysterious family tree: Kim Jong Un's secretive dynasty is full of drama, death". Design by Alberto Mier. CNN. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Official biographies of Kim Jong-suk and Kim Jong-il give birth years of 1917 and 1942, respectively. Kim Ju-ae may have been born in late 2012 or early 2013.
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