·                    ALSO KNOWN AS KIM JONG-EUN.


·                    BORN 08 JANUARY 1983 OR 1984 INPYONGYANG,NORTH KOREA. AS OF JANUARY 2011 HE WAS 27 OR 28 YEARS OLD.




·                    ASSUMED OFFICE 24 DECEMBER 2011.






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For other people named Kim Jong-un, see Kim Jong-un (disambiguation).

This is a Korean name; the family name is Kim.

Kim Jong-un

Supreme Leader of North Korea


Assumed office
28 December 2011[1]


Choe Yong-rim

Preceded by

Kim Jong-il

Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army


Assumed office
24 December 2011[2]

Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission


Assumed office
28 September 2010
Serving with Ri Yong-ho


Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-un

Preceded by

Position established

Personal details


1983/1984 (age 27–28)[3]
Pyongyang, North Korea

Political party

Workers’ Party of Korea

Alma mater

Kim Il-sung University
Kim Il Sung Military Academy

Military service


 North Korea

Years of service



Daejang (General)

Kim Jong-un

Chosŏn’gŭl 김정은
Hancha 金正恩[4]
McCune–Reischauer Kim Chŏng’ŭn
Revised Romanization Gim Jeong-eun

Kim Jong-un (Korean: [5], IPA: [kim dʑʌŋ ɯn]), also known as Kim Jong-eun or Kim Jung-eun,[6] formerly Kim Jong-woon or Kim Jung-woon[7] (born 8 January 1983 or 1984),[8] is the supreme leader of North Korea.[9] He is the third and youngest son of his deceased predecessor Kim Jong-il and his consort Ko Young-hee.[10] From late 2010, Kim Jong-un was viewed as heir apparent to the leadership of the nation, and following his father’s death, he was announced as the “Great Successor” by North Korean state television.[11] He was declared Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army on 24 December 2011,[2] and at Kim Jong-il’s memorial service, North Korean president Kim Yong-nam declared that “Respected Comrade Kim Jong-un is our party, military and country’s supreme leader who inherits great comrade Kim Jong-il’s ideology, leadership, character, virtues, grit and courage”.[12] His accession is not expected to become fully official until top party, parliamentary and government officials meet to confirm his appointment as General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission.[12][13]

He is a Daejang in the Korean People’s Army, a military rank equivalent to that of a General.[14] Kim is said to have studied computer science privately in North Korea.[15] He obtained two degrees, one in physics at Kim Il Sung University and another at the Kim Il Sung Military Academy.[16][17]


Early life

Kim is thought to have been born in 1983 or early 1984.[8] Intelligence sources give his date of birth as 8 January 1984.[3]

He attended the English-languageInternationalSchoolof Bern, Switzerland, until 1998 under a pseudonym.[18][19][20][21][22] Former classmates have asserted that he attended Gümligen International School or Liebefeld public school. In Liebefeld, he told his friend Joao Micaelo that he was the son of the North Korea leader, though Micaelo said he didn’t believe him at the time.[23]

Kim was described as a shy child who avoided communication with unfamiliar people and was only distinguished for his competitive nature, particularly in sports, and a fascination with the NBA and Michael Jordan. One friend claimed that he had met and even had pictures taken with Kobe Bryant and Toni Kukoč, but was unsure where.[24] He reportedly stayed in Switzerland – neutral in the conflict between North and South Korea – until late 1999 or early 2000 when former classmates claimed he “disappeared”. The ambassador of North Korea in Switzerland, Ri Tcheul, had a close relationship with him and acted as a mentor while there. The Kim clan is said to organise family meetings at Lake Geneva and Interlaken.[25]

For many years, only one confirmed photograph of him was known outside North Korea, apparently taken in the mid-1990s, when he was eleven.[26] Occasional other supposed images of him surfaced but were often disputed.[27][28][29][30] 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.[31][32] 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.[33]


Pre-2010 Party Conference speculation

His eldest half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, had been the favourite to succeed, but reportedly fell out of favour after 2001, when he was caught attempting to enter Japan on a fake passport to visit Tokyo Disneyland.[34]

Kim Jong-il’s former personal chef, Kenji Fujimoto, revealed details regarding Kim Jong-un, with whom he shared a good relationship,[35] stating that he was favoured to be his father’s successor. Fujimoto also claimed 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”.[36] 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.” When Jong-un was 18, Fujimoto described an episode where Jong-un 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?”[36] On January 15, 2009 the South Korean news agency, Yonhap, reported that Kim Jong-il appointed Kim Jong-un to be his successor.[34][37]

On March 8, 2009, the BBC reported rumors that Kim Jong-un appeared on the ballot for elections to the Supreme People’s Assembly, the rubber stamp parliament of North Korea.[38] Subsequent reports indicate that his name did not appear on the list of lawmakers,[39] however he was later elevated to a mid-level position in the National Defense Commission, which is a branch of the North Korean military.[40] Reports have also suggested that he is a diabetic and suffers from hypertension.[7][41]

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.[42] He has been named “Yŏngmyŏng-han Tongji” (영명한 동지), which loosely translates to “Brilliant Comrade”.[43] His father had also asked embassy staff abroad to pledge loyalty to his son.[41] There have also been reports that citizens in North Korea have been 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.[44] 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.[45] The Chinese Foreign Ministry has strongly denied that this visit occurred.[46][47]

North Koreawas later reported to have backed the succession plan, after Kim Jong-il suspended a propaganda campaign to promote his youngest son.[48] His birthday has since become a national holiday, celebrated on January 1, according to a report by a South Korean website.[49] He was expected to be named on 28 September 2010 as successor to his father as leader of North Korea.[50][51][52]

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visited China in early September 2010, and discussed the issue of North Korean leadership succession with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. According to Carter, Wen told Carter that Kim Jong-il had said to Wen that Kim Jong-un’s prospective promotion to paramount leader of North Korea was “a false rumor from the West“.[53]

Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission

Kim Jong-un was made a Daejang, the equivalent of General in the United States,[14] 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 his having no previous military experience.[54][55][56] Despite the promotion, no further details, including verifiable portraits of Kim, were released.[57] 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.[58]

On October 10, 2010, alongside his father the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un attended the ruling Workers’ Party’s 65th anniversary celebration. This was seen as fully 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.[59] In January 2011, the regime began purging around 200 proteges of both Jong-un’s uncle-in-law Jang Sung-taek and O Kuk-ryol, the vice chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea, by either detention or execution to further prevent either man from rivaling Jong-un.[60] In the following months, Kim Jong-un was given more and more prominence as he accompanied Kim Jong-il during several “guidance tours” and received gifts from foreign delegations and personages, an honour traditionally awarded only to the living supreme leader. He was also listed second only to Kim Jong-il himself in the funeral committee for Jo Myong-rok.

After Kim Jong-il’s death

On December 17, 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.[61] Some analysts had predicted that when Kim Jong-il died, Jang Sung-taek would act as regent, as Jong-un is too inexperienced to immediately lead the country.[62] On December 25, 2011, North Korean television showed Jang Sung-taek in the uniform of a general in a sign of his growing sway after the death of Kim Jong-il. A Seoul official familiar with North Korea affairs said it was the first time Jang has been shown on state television in a military uniform. His appearance suggests that Jang has secured a key role in the North’s powerful military, which has pledged its allegiance to Kim Jong-un.[63]

The cult of personality around Kim Jong-un has been stepped up following his father’s death. He was hailed as the “great successor to the revolutionary cause of Juche“, “outstanding leader of the party, army and people”,[64] “respected comrade who is identical to Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il”,[65] and 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,[66] while the ruling Workers’ Party said in an editorial: “We vow with bleeding tears to call Kim Jong Un our supreme commander, our leader.”[67]

He was publicly declared Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army on 24 December 2011.[2]

On 26 December 2011, the leading North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun announced that Kim Jong-un has been acting as chairman of the Central Military Commission[68] and supreme leader of the country, following his father’s demise.[69]


His name was first reported as 김정운 (), possibly an error in transliterating the name from Japanese to Korean, as the Japanese language does not distinguish between 운 (un) and 은 (eun). The initial source of his name was Kim Jong-il’s former personal chef, known by the pen name Kenji Fujimoto, who was among the few who had access to information about Kim’s household from inside the government. Chinese media, however, have named him as 김정은 (Hanja: ).






Who is Kim Jong Un really?

By John Brinsley and Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Published: December 20

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) –North Korea’s new leader looks like his grandfather, went to school inSwitzerlandand reportedly loves basketball star Michael Jordan. Nothing is known about his views on nuclear weapons, international relations, or fixing his country’s crippled economy.

Kim Jong Un was designated the country’s successor on Dec. 19 after the totalitarian state announced the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. Thought to be in his late 20’s, Jong Un was named to senior military and party posts last year, the first official notice that he was being groomed to take over.


While Kim has spent most of his life inNorth Korea, he studied inSwitzerlandin the 1990’s. He was designated successor in 2009, aU.S.official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The third son of the deceased dictator, Kim Jong Un was the favorite, according to a Japanese chef who wrote a book about his 13 years of cooking for Kim Jong Il inPyongyang.

“He was unknown until two years ago,” said Michael Green, senior director of Asian affairs at the National Security Council under President George W. Bush and now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies inWashington. “There are questions about whether enough legwork was done to keep him going. One question now is will Kim Jong Un and others around him do something to prove he’s in command.”

Constant Struggle

He inherits an economy where 24 million people suffer from chronic malnutrition and are taught to believe the country is in a constant struggle withSouth Korea, theU.S.andJapanafter the 1950-53 Korean War ended without a peace treaty.North Korearefuses to abandon its nuclear weapons program in the face of global sanctions and relies on outside handouts to survive, primarily fromChina, its biggest trading partner.

Kim Jong Il in September 2010 made Kim Jong Un a four-star general and elevated allies to act as his son’s guardians, including sister Kim Kyong Hui and brother-in-law Jang Song Thaek. The country’s stability may turn on whether the family and the military are confident that the younger Kim can extend the dynasty started by his grandfather Kim Il Sung, who founded the nation after World War II.

One month after his promotion, Jong Un stood next to his father at a military parade. Photos of the event showed him wearing a black suit with a mandarin collar similar to the style worn by his grandfather. He also emulated Kim Il Sung’s slicked-back hairstyle rather than the bouffant favored by his father.

‘The Kim Brand’

“Jong Un’s main claim to leadership is that he looks very similar to his grandfather,” said Bradley K. Martin, author of “Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty” and a former reporter for Bloomberg News. “What you have here is branding. The Kim brand.”

Kim Jong Un attended a ceremony where his father’s body lay in state yesterday and mourned, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said. A funeral will be on Dec. 28 followed by a national memorial service the next day.

Jong Un and his older brother, Kim Jong Chol, were born to Kim Jong Il’s companion, Ko Young Hee. The eldest son, Kim JongNam, who had a different mother, fell out of favor after he was caught trying to enterJapanin 2001 using a fake passport. Kim Jong Chol was deemed too unhealthy and mentally weak to be picked, Yonhap News said after Jong Un was promoted last year.