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Kim Jong il’s Family Problems

Posted: October 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: China, Cult of Celebrity, Facebook, Favorite New Thought . . ., North Korea, Revolute, Social Media, That Human Condition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Kim Jong il’s Family Problems

Our favorite dicator, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il – aka Yuri Irsenovich Kim aka Dear Leader  has been in absolute power now for 18 years. Forbes ranks the Supreme Leader as 31st in it’s List of The World’s Most Powerful People. Don’t let his iron-fisted power fool you though. It seems the Genral has as much trouble as the next man keeping his family in-line. A quick rundown on our favorite dictator reveals some astounding facts:


  1. Soviet records show that Kim Jong-il was born in the village of Vyatskoye, near Khabarovsk, in 1941, where his father, Kim Il-sung, commanded the 1st Battalion of the Soviet 88th Brigade, made up of Chinese and Korean exiles. Kim Jong-il’s official biography states that he was born in a secret military camp on Baekdu Mountain in Japanese Korea on 16 February 1942. Official biographers claim that his birth at Baekdu Mountain was foretold by a swallow, and heralded by the appearance of a double rainbow over the mountain and a new star in the heavens.

There are more of these nuggets in the wiki at the end of this post. Back to those family problems!

The Great Leader’s grandson, Kim Han Sol is apparently in the thick of standard teenage rebellion.  It’s been a very public few days for Kim Jong il’s 16-year-old grandson, over the weekend. His personal blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts were all outed by South Korean media, who have been stalking the teen for the past 3 months. Kim Han Sol, has now blocked public access to his social media sites after being bombarded with media attention from South Korea.

It’s probably not a bad thing that Kim Han Sol’s North Korean Commrades can’t see what he’s up to: in one post he says he favors democracy over communism. Kim Han Sol was outed via his Facebook page.  Han  Sol identifies his religion as “Christian-other” on his MySpace profile page. The “Christian-other” category is normally used to refer to the Greek Orthodox Church, small Protestant denominations, or non-denominational Christians.

In his Facebook profile photo, Kim Han-sol wears a necklace with a pendant that looks like a crucifix. And on his YouTube channel, he identified himself as “Pro-Religious Rights.” But when he subscribed to AsiaFind, an online dating site for Asians, in October last year, he introduced himself as an agnostic.

“Genuine religious freedom does not exist” in North Korea, the U.S. State Department says in its 2010 International Religious Freedom Report. “Members of underground churches were arrested, beaten, tortured, or killed because of their religious beliefs. An estimated 150,000 to 200,000 persons were believed to be held in political prison camps in remote areas, some for religious reasons.”

Subscribing to www.lovelandia.com, an Australian website that shares love poems and quotes, Han-sol says he was born on June 16, 1994. This supports the belief that both the Internet IDs “khsol616” and “kimhs616” are combinations of his English initials and birthday. The 17-year-old boy gave his income as “more than US$250,000” on MySpace. Like much of the world, he likes and consumes American culture, yet hates actual American people.

The teenage boy posted a poll on his page asking friends if they preferred democracy or communism, and indicated his personal preference for democracy. He also engaged in a comment war with “NickyAmerican,” eloquently expressing his distaste for the universally shared characteristics of all American people (specifically, being fat and stupid and eating cheeseburgers): “F_ck off fatty, go drop your cigarette and your cheese-burger and go read a book. I’d suggest you to go study some geography.”

The South Koreans have dug deep in what can only be described as a smear campaign. Daily NK reports: Traces of his Internet activity have also been tracked down. He left a sarcastic message reading, “Long Live Free Democracy!!!!” under a video clip showing a chaotic candlelight vigil in Seoul on a video website.  On another video website, which introduces the North Korean “Arirang” mass calisthenics show as a new entry in the Guinness Book of Records, he said, “All performers were students. About 80,000 students performed it.”

A Bosnian newspaper reported that Kim Han Sol has enrolled at the local campus of the United World College (UWC) in Mostar, an hour’s drive southwest of Sarajevo.  Kim Han Sol will be the first DPRK national to enroll at UWC’s Bosnian campus since its 2006 opening.  Like other foreign secondary institutions attended by Kim Family offspring, UWC offers an International Baccalaureate Diploma curriculum.   According to ROK media, he had been studying in Macau, one of the Chinese cities to which his father regularly commutes for business and where he maintains a residence.

“The United World Colleges (UWC) in Mostar has announced the acceptance of North Korean student Kim Han-Sol,” the school said in a press release on its website.

School spokeswoman Meri Musa told AFP that Kim was still waiting for a two-year Bosnian visa and had not yet arrived in the country.

News of Kim’s enrollment sent enterprising ROK journalists to Kim Han Sol’s Facebook page where they discovered several candid photographs.

Kim Han Sol was apparently accepted at an elite English-language high school in Hong Kong, but was rejected for a student visa by local authorities.

In 2001, Kim Jong Nam tried to bring his then 5 year old son to Tokyo Disneyland, but ended up being arrested for trying to enter Japan on a forged Dominican passport.

Flash forward ten years: Hong Kong authorities turned down Kim Han Sol’s request for a visa to attend United World Colleges’  Hong Kong campus. The official reason was that North Korean passport holders are not eligible for student visas because of a history of overstaying their visits.

After the Tokyo arrest, Kim Jong Nam fell into disfavor and was passed over as successor to his father in favor of his younger half-brother, Kim Jong Un. Kim Jong Nam has been living in Macao, where his son had been enrolled in an English-language international school.

As the man on the info-mercial says: But Wait, There’s More . . .

The  Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army must be right about now wondering which way is up,  his eldest – exiled – son Kim Jong-Nam has exposed himself on Facebook, well that’s an exaggeration, Jong-nam has exposed the dysfunctional inner workings of dying dynasty. Via Facebook, Kim Jong-Nam expressed his bitterness at being passed over as successor to the North Korean throne and posts insults of his half brother Kim Jong-Un, who – in 2009 – was anointed heir instead.

When the Facebook pages of Kim Jong-Nam, and his son Kim Han-Sol were exposed by the South Korean media on Saturday, Kim Jong-Nam deleted two of Kim Han-Sol’s IDs among his 71 Friends, apparently to prevent others from accessing his Facebook page via his son’s page.

But Kim Jong-Nam continues to maintain a link between his Facebook page and another website that contains a poster of the animated movie “Kung Fu Panda” with Kim Jong-un’s chubby face pasted on it. “Kim Chol” is the pseudonym Jong-nam uses for hotel reservations in Singapore, Hong Kong, and elsewhere in the region.

Kim Jong-Nam also posted digitally altered photos on his Facebook page ridiculing his father and the North Korean elite. Kim Jong-Nam and Kim Jong-Un, who have different mothers, were apparently on bad terms even in North Korea. Kim Jong-Nam’s mother was the North Korean actress Song Hye-Rim. Kim Jong-il sent him to a Swiss boarding school in 1980, and while he was abroad, Kim Jong-il had two more children – Kim Jong-Chol and Kim Jong-Nam – with Ko Yong-Hui, a dancer who was born in Japan.

Kim Jong-Nam was first in line to succeed his father and told children of high-ranking officials in the North in the late 1990s that he would implement reforms if he succeeded his father. This comment apparently became a problem when Kim senior got wind of it. But that was not the end of Jong-nam’s blunders. In 2001 he was caught trying to enter Japan on a forged Dominican passport to visit Disneyland Tokyo. This put him out of favor with his father, and he has since been living in virtual exile in Beijing and Macau.

China apparently deems Kim Jong-Nam to be useful and told North Korean officials that Beijing intends to protect him as long as he stays on Chinese soil, South Korean intelligence officials say.

Had enough of the KIMS? NO! Check our favorite Kim Jong il site: http://kimjongillookingatthings.tumblr.com/

source: daily nk
source: chosun.com
source: nerve
source: afp

Confused? Check the Wiki

Kim Jong il Family Wiki

There is no official information available about Kim Jong-il’s marital history, but he is believed to have been officially married once and to have had three mistresses. He has four known children:

  • Kim Sul-song (daughter)
  • Kim Jong-nam (son)
  • Kim Jong-chul (son)
  • Kim Jong-un (son)

Kim’s first wife, Kim Young-sook, was the daughter of a high-ranking military official. His father Kim Il-Sung handpicked her to marry his son. The two have been estranged for some years. Kim has a daughter from this marriage, Kim Sul-song (born 1974).

Kim’s first mistress, Song Hye-rim, was a star of North Korean films. She was married to another man when they met; Kim is reported to have forced her husband to divorce her. The relationship was not officially recognized, and after years of estrangement she is believed to have died in Moscow in the Central Clinical Hospital in 2002. They had one son, Kim Jong-nam (born 1971) who is Kim Jong-il’s eldest son.

His second mistress, Ko Young-hee, was a Japanese-born ethnic Korean and a dancer. She had taken over the role of First Lady until her death — reportedly of cancer — in 2004. They had two sons, Kim Jong-chul, in 1981, and Kim Jong-un (also “Jong Woon” or “Jong Woong”), in 1983.

Since Ko’s death, Kim has been living with Kim Ok, his third mistress, who had served as his personal secretary since the 1980s. She “virtually acts as North Korea’s first lady” and frequently accompanies Kim on his visits to military bases and in meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries. She traveled with Kim Jong Il on a secretive trip to China in January 2006, where she was received by Chinese officials as Kim’s wife.

Kim Jong-il is also reported to have a younger sister, Kim Kyong-Hui (김경희).

Kim’s three sons and his son-in-law, along with O Kuk-ryol, an army general, have been noted as possible successors, but the North Korean government has been wholly silent on this matter. Kim Yong Hyun, a political expert at the Institute for North Korean Studies at Seoul’s Dongguk University, has said, “Even the North Korean establishment would not advocate a continuation of the family dynasty at this point.” Kim’s eldest son Kim Jong-nam was earlier believed to be the designated heir but he appears to have fallen out of favor after being arrested at Narita International Airport near Tokyo in 2001 while traveling on a forged passport.

On 2 June 2009, it was reported that Kim Jong Il’s youngest son, Jong Un, was to be North Korea’s next leader. Like his father and grandfather, he has also been given an official sobriquet, The Brilliant Comrade. It has been reported that Kim Jong Il is expected to officially designate the son as his successor in 2012. However, there are reports that if leadership passes to one of the sons, Kim Jong Il’s brother-in-law, Chang Sung-taek, could attempt to take power from him.

Kim Hyŏng-jik Kang Pan-sŏk
Kim Jong-suk Kim Il-sung Kim Sŏng-ae
Kim Young-sook Song Hye-rim Kim Jong-il Ko Young-hee Kim Ok Kim Kyong-hui Chang Sung-taek Kim Pyong-il
Kim Sul-song Kim Jong-nam Kim Jong-chul Kim Jong-un
Not to be confused with Kim Yong-il, Kim Jong-pil, or Kim Jong-Il (athlete).
This is a Korean name; the family name is Kim.
Kim Jong-il
Юрий Ирсенович Ким
Kim Jong-il in August 2011 whilst on a visit to Russia
Supreme Leader of North Korea
Assumed office
8 July 1994
President Kim Yong-nam
Premier Hong Song-nam
Pak Pong-ju
Kim Yong-il
Choe Yong-rim
Preceded by Kim Il-sung
Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea
Assumed office
9 April 1993
Deputy Jo Myong-rok (1993–2010)
Chang Sung-taek (2010–)
Preceded by Position established
Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army
Assumed office
24 December 1991
Preceded by Kim Il-sung
General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea
Assumed office
8 October 1997
Preceded by Kim Il-sung
Chairman of the Central Military Commission of Worker’s Party of Korea
Assumed office
8 October 1997
Preceded by Kim Il-sung
Personal details
Born 16 February 1941 (age 70)
Vyatskoye, Russian SFSR,Soviet Union (Soviet records)
16 February 1942 (age 69)
Baekdu Mountain, Japanese Korea (North Korean records)
Political party Workers’ Party of Korea
Spouse(s) Kim Young-sook
Song Hye-rim
Ko Young-hee
Kim Ok
Relations Kim Il-sung (father, deceased)
Kim Jong-suk (mother, deceased)
Children Kim Sul-song
Kim Jong-nam
Kim Jong-chul
Kim Jong-un
Alma mater Kim Il-sung University
University of Malta

Kim Jong-il
, also written as Kim Jong Il, birth name Yuri Irsenovich Kim (According to Soviet records) born 16 February 1941 (Soviet records) or 16 February 1942 (North Korean records), is theleader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). He is the Chairman of the National Defense Commission, General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the ruling party since 1948, and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army, the fourth largest standing army in the world. In April 2009, North Korea’s constitution was amended and now implicitly refers to him as the “Supreme Leader“. He is also referred to as the “Dear Leader“, “our Father“, “the General” and “Generalissimo

Soviet records show that Kim Jong-il was born in the village of Vyatskoye, near Khabarovsk, in 1941, where his father, Kim Il-sung, commanded the 1st Battalion of the Soviet 88th Brigade, made up of Chinese and Korean exiles. Kim Jong-il’s mother, Kim Jong-suk, was Kim Il-sung’s first wife.

Kim Jong-il’s official biography states that he was born in a secret military camp on Baekdu Mountain in Japanese Korea on 16 February 1942. Official biographers claim that his birth at Baekdu Mountain was foretold by a swallow, and heralded by the appearance of a double rainbow over the mountain and a new star in the heavens.

In 1945, Kim was three or four years old (depending on his birth year) when World War II ended and Korea regained independence from Japan. His father returned to Pyongyang that September, and in late November Kim returned to Korea via a Soviet ship, landing at Sonbong (선봉군, also Unggi). The family moved into a former Japanese officer’s mansion in Pyongyang, with a garden and pool. Kim Jong-il’s brother, “Shura” Kim (the first Kim Jong-il, but known by his Russian nickname), drowned there in 1948. Unconfirmed reports suggest that five-year-old Kim Jong-il might have caused the accident. In 1949, his mother died in childbirth. Unconfirmed reports suggest that his mother might have been shot and left to bleed to death.

According to his official biography, Kim completed the course of general education between September 1950 and August 1960. He attended Primary School No. 4 and Middle School No. 1 (Namsan Higher Middle School) in Pyongyang This is contested by foreign academics, who believe he is more likely to have received his early education in the People’s Republic of China as a precaution to ensure his safety during the Korean War.

Throughout his schooling, Kim was involved in politics. He was active in the Children’s Union and the Democratic Youth League (DYL), taking part in study groups of Marxist political theory and other literature. In September 1957 he became vice-chairman of his middle school’s DYL branch. He pursued a programme of anti-factionalism and attempted to encourage greater ideological education among his classmates.

Kim is also said to have received English language education at the University of Malta in the early 1970s, on his infrequent holidays in Malta as guest of Prime Minister Dom Mintoff.

The elder Kim had meanwhile remarried and had another son, Kim Pyong-il (named after Kim Jong-il’s drowned brother). Since 1988, Kim Pyong-il has served in a series of North Korean embassies in Europe and is currently the North Korean ambassador to Poland. Foreign commentators suspect that Kim Pyong-il was sent to these distant posts by his father in order to avoid a power struggle between his two sons.

By the time of the Sixth Party Congress in October 1980, Kim Jong-il’s control of the Party operation was complete. He was given senior posts in the Politburo, the Military Commission and the party Secretariat. When he was made a member of the Seventh Supreme People’s Assembly in February 1982, international observers deemed him the heir apparent of North Korea.

At this time Kim assumed the title “Dear Leader” (친애하는 지도자, chinaehaneun jidoja) the government began building a personality cult around him patterned after that of his father, the “Great Leader”. Kim Jong-il was regularly hailed by the media as the “fearless leader” and “the great successor to the revolutionary cause”. He emerged as the most powerful figure behind his father in North Korea.

On 24 December 1991, Kim was also named supreme commander of the North Korean armed forces. Since the Army is the real foundation of power in North Korea, this was a vital step. Defense Minister Oh Jin-wu, one of Kim Il-sung’s most loyal subordinates, engineered Kim Jong-il’s acceptance by the Army as the next leader of North Korea, despite his lack of military service. The only other possible leadership candidate, Prime Minister Kim Il (no relation), was removed from his posts in 1976. In 1992, Kim Il-sung publicly stated that his son was in charge of all internal affairs in the Democratic People’s Republic.

In 1992, radio broadcasts started referring to him as the “Dear Father”, instead of the “Dear Leader”, suggesting a promotion. His 50th birthday in February was the occasion for massive celebrations, exceeded only by those for the 80th birthday of Kim Il Sung himself on 15 April that same year.

According to defector Hwang Jang-yop, the North Korean government system became even more centralized and autocratic during the 1980s and 1990s under Kim Jong-il than it had been under his father. In one example explained by Hwang, although Kim Il-sung required his ministers to be loyal to him, he nonetheless and frequently sought their advice during decision-making. In contrast, Kim Jong-il demands absolute obedience and agreement from his ministers and party officials with no advice or compromise, and he views any slight deviation from his thinking as a sign of disloyalty. According to Hwang, Kim Jong-il personally directs even minor details of state affairs, such as the size of houses for party secretaries and the delivery of gifts to his subordinates.

By the 1980s, North Korea began to experience severe economic stagnation. Kim Il-sung’s policy of juche (self-reliance) cut the country off from almost all external trade, even with its traditional partners, the Soviet Union and China.

South Korea accused Kim of ordering the 1983 bombing in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar), which killed 17 visiting South Korean officials, including four cabinet members, and another in 1987 which killed all 115 on board Korean Air Flight 858. A North Korean agent, Kim Hyon Hui, confessed to planting a bomb in the case of the second, saying the operation was ordered by Kim Jong-il personally.

In 1992, Kim Jong-il’s voice was broadcast within North Korea for the first time during a military parade for the KPA’s 60th year anniversary in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung Square, in which Kim Il-sung attended with Kim Jong-il by his side. After Kim Il-sung’s speech, and the parade inspection his son approached the microphone at the grandstand in response to the report of the parade inspector and simply said: “Glory to the heroic soldiers of the Korean People’s Army!” Everyone in the audience applauded and the parade participants at the square grounds (which included veteran soldiers and officers of the KPA) shouted “ten thousand years” three times after that.

On 8 July 1994, Kim Il-sung died, at the age of 82 from a heart attack. However, it took three years for Kim Jong-il to consolidate his power. He officially took the titles of General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defense Commission on 8 October 1997. In 1998, his Defense Commission chairmanship was declared to be “the highest post of the state”, so Kim may be regarded as North Korea’s head of state from that date. Also in 1998, the Supreme People’s Assembly wrote the president’s post out of the constitution in memory of Kim Il-Sung, who was designated the country’s “Eternal President”. It can be argued, though, that he became the country’s leader when he became leader of the Workers’ Party; in most Communist countries the party leader is the most powerful person in the country.

Officially, Kim is part of a triumvirate heading the executive branch of the North Korean government along with Premier Choe Yong-rim and parliament chairman Kim Yong-nam (no relations). Each nominally has powers equivalent to a third of a president’s powers in most other presidential systems. Kim Jong-il is commander of the armed forces, Choe Yong-rim heads the government and Kim Yong-nam handles foreign relations. In practice, however, Kim Jong-il exercises absolute control over the government and the country.

Although Kim is not required to stand for popular election to his key offices, he is unanimously elected to the Supreme People’s Assembly every five years, representing a military constituency, due to his concurrent capacities as KPA Supreme Commander and Chairman of the DPRK NDC.

The state-controlled economy of North Korea struggled throughout the 1990s, primarily due to the loss of strategic trade arrangements with the Soviet Union and strained relations with China following China’s normalization with South Korea in 1992. In addition, North Korea experienced record-breaking floods (1995 and 1996) followed by several years of equally severe drought beginning in 1997. This, compounded with only 18% arable land and an inability to import the goods necessary to sustain industry, led to an immense famine and left North Korea in economic shambles. Faced with a country in decay, Kim adopted a “Military-First” policy (선군정치, Sŏn’gun chŏngch’i) to strengthen the country and reinforce the regime. On the national scale, this policy has produced a positive growth rate for the country since 1996, and the implementation of “landmark socialist-type market economic practices” in 2002 kept the North afloat despite a continued dependency on foreign aid for food.

In the wake of the devastation of the 1990s, the government began formally approving some activity of small-scale bartering and trade. As observed by Daniel Sneider, associate director for research at the Stanford University Asia-Pacific Research Center, this flirtation with capitalism is “fairly limited, but — especially compared to the past — there are now remarkable markets that create the semblance of a free market system.” In 2002, Kim Jong-il declared that “money should be capable of measuring the worth of all commodities.” These gestures toward economic reform mirror similar actions taken by China’s Deng Xiaoping in the late 1980s and early 90s. During a rare visit in 2006, Kim expressed admiration for China’s rapid economic progress.

In 1998, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung implemented the “Sunshine Policy” to improve North-South relations and to allow South Korean companies to start projects in the North. Kim Jong-il announced plans to import and develop new technologies to develop North Korea’s fledgling software industry. As a result of the new policy, the Kaesong Industrial Park was constructed in 2003 just north of the de-militarized zone, with the planned participation of 250 South Korean companies, employing 100,000 North Koreans, by 2007. However, by March 2007, the Park contained only 21 companies — employing 12,000 North Korean workers. As of May 2010 the park employs over 40,000 North Korean workers.

In 1994, North Korea and the United States signed an Agreed Framework which was designed to freeze and eventually dismantle the North’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for aid in producing two power-generating nuclear reactors. In 2002, Kim Jong-il’s government admitted to having produced nuclear weapons since the 1994 agreement. Kim’s regime argued the secret production was necessary for security purposes — citing the presence of United States-owned nuclear weapons in South Korea and the new tensions with the US under President George W. Bush. On 9 October 2006, North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency announced that it had successfully conducted an underground nuclear test.

In an August 2008 issue of the Japanese newsweekly Shukan Gendai, Waseda University professor Toshimitsu Shigemura, an authority on the Korean Peninsula, claimed that Kim Jong-il died of diabetes in late 2003 and had been replaced in public appearances by one or more stand-ins previously employed to protect him from assassination attempts. In a subsequent best-selling book, The True Character of Kim Jong-il, Shigemura cited apparently un-named people close to Kim’s family along with Japanese and South Korean intelligence sources, claiming they confirmed Kim’s diabetes took a turn for the worse early in 2000 and from then until his supposed death three and a half years later he was using a wheelchair. Shigemura moreover claimed a voiceprint analysis of Kim speaking in 2004 did not match a known earlier recording. It was also noted that Kim Jong-il did not appear in public for the Olympic torch relay in Pyongyang on 28 April 2008. The question had reportedly “baffled foreign intelligence agencies for years.”

On 9 September 2008, various sources reported that after he did not show up that day for a military parade celebrating North Korea’s 60th anniversary, US intelligence agencies believed Kim might be “gravely ill” after having suffered a stroke. He had last been seen in public a month earlier.

A former CIA official said earlier reports of a health crisis were likely to be accurate. North Korean media remained silent on the issue. An Associated Press report said analysts believed Kim had been supporting moderates in the foreign ministry, while North Korea’s powerful military was against so-called “Six-Party” negotiations with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States aimed towards ridding North Korea of nuclear weapons. Some US officials noted that soon after rumours about Kim’s health were publicized a month before, North Korea had taken a “tougher line in nuclear negotiations.” In late August North Korea’s official news agency reported the government would “consider soon a step to restore the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon to their original state as strongly requested by its relevant institutions.” Analysts said this meant “the military may have taken the upper hand and that Kim might no longer be wielding absolute authority.”

By 10 September there were conflicting reports. Unidentified South Korean government officials said Kim had undergone surgery after suffering a minor stroke and had apparently “intended to attend 9 September event in the afternoon but decided not to because of the aftermath of the surgery.” High ranking North Korean official Kim Yong-nam said, “While we wanted to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the country with General Secretary Kim Jong-Il, we celebrated on our own.” Song Il-Ho, North Korea’s ambassador said, “We see such reports as not only worthless, but rather as a conspiracy plot.” Seoul’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that “the South Korean embassy in Beijing had received an intelligence report that Kim collapsed on 22 August.” TheNew York Times reported Kim was “very ill and most likely suffered a stroke a few weeks ago, but US intelligence authorities do not think his death is imminent.” The BBC noted that the North Korean government denied these reports, stating that Kim’s health problems were “not serious enough to threaten his life,” although they did confirm that he had suffered from a stroke on 15 August.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on 14 September that “Kim collapsed on 14 August due to stroke or a cerebral hemorrhage, and that Beijing dispatched five military doctors at the request of Pyongyang. Kim will require a long period of rest and rehabilitation before he fully recovers and has complete command of his limbs again, as with typical stroke victims.” Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun said Kim occasionally lost consciousness since April. Japan’s Tokyo Shimbun on 15 September added that Kim was staying at the Bongwha State Guest House. He was apparently conscious “but he needs some time to recuperate from the recent stroke, with some parts of his hands and feet paralyzed”. It cited Chinese sources which claimed that one cause for the stroke could have been stress brought about by the US delay to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

On 19 October, North Korea reportedly ordered its diplomats to stay near their embassies to await “an important message”, according to Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, setting off renewed speculation about the health of the ailing leader.

By 29 October 2008, reports stated Kim suffered a serious setback and had been taken back to hospital. The New York Times reported that Taro Aso, on 28 October 2008, stated in a parliamentary session that Kim had been hospitalized: “His condition is not so good. However, I don’t think he is totally incapable of making decisions.” Aso further said a French neurosurgeon was aboard a plane for Beijing, en route to North Korea. Further, Kim Sung-ho, director of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, told lawmakers in a closed parliamentary session in Seoul that “Kim appeared to be recovering quickly enough to start performing his daily duties.” The Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported “a serious problem” with Kim’s health. Japan’s Fuji Television Networkreported that Kim’s eldest son, Kim Jong Nam, traveled to Paris to hire a neurosurgeon for his father, and showed footage where the surgeon boarded flight CA121 bound for Pyongyang from Beijing on 24 October. The French weekly Le Point identified him as Francois-Xavier Roux, neurosurgery director of Paris’ Sainte-Anne Hospital, but Roux himself stated he was in Beijing for several days and not North Korea.

On 5 November 2008, the North’s Korean Central News Agency published 2 photos showing Kim posing with dozens of Korean People’s Army (KPA) soldiers on a visit to military Unit 2200 and sub-unit of Unit 534. Shown with his usual bouffant hairstyle, with his trademark sunglasses and a white winter parka, Kim stood in front of trees with autumn foliage and a red-and-white banner. The Times questioned the authenticity of at least one of these photos.

In November 2008, Japan’s TBS TV network reported that Kim had suffered a second stroke in October, which “affected the movement of his left arm and leg and also his ability to speak.” However, South Korea’s intelligence agency rejected this report.

In response to the rumors regarding Kim’s health and supposed loss of power, in April 2009, North Korea released a video showing Kim visiting factories and other places around the country between November and December 2008. In July 2009, it was reported that Kim may be suffering from pancreatic cancer.

In 2010, documents released by Wikileaks stated that Kim suffers from epilepsy.

Like his father, Kim has a fear of flying, and always travels by private armored train for state visits to Russia and China. The BBC reported that Konstantin Pulikovsky, a Russian emissary who traveled with Kim across Russia by train, told reporters that Kim had live lobsters air-lifted to the train every day.

Kim is said to be a huge film fan, owning a collection of more than 20,000 video tapes and DVDs. His reported favorite movie franchises include Friday the 13thRamboGodzilla, and Hong Kong action cinema,[108] and any movie starring Elizabeth Taylor. He is the author of the book On the Art of the Cinema. In 1978, on Kim’s orders, South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his actress wife Choi Eun-hee were kidnapped in order to build a North Korean film industry. In 2006 he was involved in the production of the Juche-based movie Diary of a Girl Student – depicting the life of a girl whose parents are scientists – with a KCNA news report stating that Kim “improved its script and guided its production”.

Although Kim enjoys many foreign forms of entertainment, according to former bodyguard Lee Young Kuk, he refused to consume any food or drink not produced in North Korea, with the exception of wine from France. His former chef Kenji Fujimoto, however, has stated that Kim has sometimes sent him around the world to purchase a variety of foreign delicacies.

Kim reportedly enjoys basketball. Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ended her summit with Kim by presenting him with a basketball signed by NBA legend Michael Jordan. Also an apparent golfer, North Korean state media reports that Kim routinely shoots three or four holes-in-one per round. His official biography also claims Kim has composed six operas and enjoys staging elaborate musicals. Kim also refers to himself as an Internet expert.

US Special Envoy for the Korean Peace Talks, Charles Kartman, who was involved in the 2000 Madeleine Albright summit with Kim, characterised Kim Jong-il as a reasonable man in negotiations, to the point, but with a sense of humor and personally attentive to the people he was hosting. However, psychological evaluations conclude that Kim Jong-il’s antisocial features, such as his fearlessness in the face of sanctions and punishment, serve to make negotiations extraordinarily difficult.

The field of psychology has long been fascinated with the personality assessment of dictators, a notion that resulted in an extensive personality evaluation of Kim Jong-il. The report, compiled by Frederick L. Coolidge and Daniel L. Segal (with the assistance of a South Korean psychiatrist considered an expert on Kim Jong-il’s behavior), concluded that the “big six” group of personality disorders shared by dictators Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Saddam Hussein (sadistic, paranoid, antisocial, narcissistic, schizoidand schizotypal) were also shared by Kim Jong-il—coinciding primarily with the profile of Saddam Hussein. The evaluation also finds that Kim Jong-il appears to pride himself on North Korea’s independence, despite the extreme hardships it appears to place on the North Korean people—an attribute appearing to emanate from his antisocial personality pattern. This notion also encourages other cognitive issues, such as self-deception, as subsidiary components to Kim Jong-il’s personality. Many of the stories about Kim Jong Il’s eccentricities and decadent life-style are exaggerated, possibly circulated by South Korean intelligence to discredit the Northern regime. Defectors claim that Kim has 17 different palaces and residences all over North Korea, including a private resort near Baekdu Mountain, a seaside lodge in the city of Wonsan, and a palace complex northeast of Pyongyang surrounded with multiple fence lines, bunkers and anti-aircraft batteries.

Official titles

  • Party Center of the WPK (1970s)
  • Vice-Chairman, WPK Central Committee (1972–80)
  • Dear Leader (Chinaehanuen Jidoja) (late 1970s-1994)
  • Intelligent Leader (1973–84)
  • Member, Presidum of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK
  • Secretary of the Worker’s Party of Korea (1980–94)
  • Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army (25 December 1991-)
  • Marshal of the DPRK (1993-)
  • Chairman, National Defense Commission of North Korea (1993-)
  • Great Leader (Widehan Ryongdoja) (July 1994-)
  • General Secretary, Workers Party of Korea (1997-)
  • Supreme Leader of the People’s Republic (2009-)

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