The personality of this eccentric dictator is shrouded in mystery. Yet, hopes are pinned on him that maybe, just maybe, he will achieve the long-expected demilitarization of his country. In 2018, he made some important steps to officially end the war on the Korean Peninsula.
So far, Kim has had several meetings with his South Korean counterpart, as well as two summits with U.S. President Donald Trump. Yet, these “kind gestures” have invariably been followed by short and mid-range missile tests and tough talk.
Kim Jong-un Facts
1. The exact date of his birth is unknown
North Korean authorities have officially reported that their current leader’s birthdate was January 8th, 1982. South Korean intelligence services believe that Kim was born on January 8th, 1983. The Americans have their own version of North Korea’s chief birth. On most official websites of the U.S. state administration, Kim’s date of birth is January 8th, 1984, an interesting fact about Kim Jong-un. Kim’s closest western friend, former basketball star Dennis Rodman, said upon coming back from North Korea that Kim was 30 in 2013. Well, we at least know for sure that he was born on January 8th.
2. Kim Jong-un holds six offices
Kim holds six high offices in the state apparatus of North Korea. First, he is the Supreme Leader of North Korea. Kim is also the Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Chairman of the State Affairs Commission. Kim Jong-un is also a member of the Presidium of the Politburo of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and the Supreme Commander of the North Korean Armed Forces. In 2012, he was promoted to the rank of Marshal.
3. Kim killed his uncle and his half-brother
Towards the end of 2013, Kim Jong-un ordered the execution of his own uncle Jang Song-thaek for “treachery”. Analysts have said he acted out of fear that his cousins may attempt a coup against him at some time in the future.
An interesting fact about Kim Jong-un is that he is also believed to have masterminded the assassination of his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, at the Kuala Lumpur Airport in Malaysia. In the course of the investigation that ensued, Malaysian authorities said that the assassins were two women who blew a deadly nerve agent into the face of Kim’s estranged half-brother.
4. Kim has got a “pro-western” leadership style
In 2012, a year after Kim succeeded his father at the helm of North Korea, international analysts noticed a sharp turn to openness and liberalization in his cultural policies. In the summer of that year, Kim Jong- attended a Moranbong Band concert. The show’s special effects showed strong American influences.
At that event, Kim also officially presented his young and beautiful wife, Ri Sol-ju to the people of North Korea. North Korea’s current leader is also a big fan of Chicago Bulls from the time of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and, of course, his dear friend, Dennis Rodman, the bad boy of NBA! He also likes 1990s action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme.
5. He is a dictator with feelings
In May 2014, a residential building in Pyongyang collapsed killing hundreds of people. What followed was an unprecedented gesture of kindness, sympathy, and affection from North Korea’s Supreme Leader. In a deeply moving address to the nation that was broadcast live on the state television, he expressed “profound consolation and apology”. Reportedly, Kim Jong-un “sat up all night, feeling painful” about that tragic loss of life. Most probably the 23-story building that collapsed killed more than one hundred people.
6. Kim Jong-un’s childhood is shrouded in mystery
Various independent sources have confirmed that Kim completed his elementary and part of his secondary education in Switzerland, an interesting Kim Jong-un fact. Some analysts suggest that Kim Jong-un attended a private international school in Gümligen under a fake name from 1993 to 1998.
Later, information emerged that Kim Jong-un attended the Liebefeld Steinhölzli state school in Köniz from 1998 until 2000. Both reports describe the mysterious North Korean student as a shy kid who was crazy about basketball.
7. North and South Korea had a united ice hockey team at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
In an unprecedented gesture of goodwill, the athletic delegations of North and South Korea marched together at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The two nations even formed a common women’s ice hockey team.
In April that year, Kim and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in met in the Demilitarized Zone to sign the Panmunjom Declaration. By the force of this historic document, the two leaders vowed to turn the Korean Armistice Agreement into a fully-functioning peace treaty that would finally end the Korean War.
8. Kim is the first North Korean leader to hold a summit with a U.S. President
In a breakthrough high-level meeting, Kim Jong Un met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June 2018. This was the first time that the communist nation’s supreme leader met one-to-one with an active U.S. president, an interesting fact about Kim Jong-un.
In the months preceding the summit, the two leaders engaged in intense saber-rattling, which involved threats of nuclear war and bitter exchanges on Twitter. However, putting their differences aside, Trump and Kim agreed to meet face-to-face and they thus sent a strong message for peace around the world.
9. Kim Jong-un is basking in luxury
We all know that the living standard of the rank-and-file North Koreans isn’t particularly high, to put it mildly. At the same time, their leader seems to be enjoying the lifestyle of a western billionaire. He is said to be a fan of the finest Cuban cigars, whose retail price sometimes reaches $100 per piece. Also, Kim is said to own a yacht that costs at least several million US dollars.
Kim Jong-un’s term in office has been marked by a slow process of North Korea’s opening towards its southern neighbor, and the world. He has the rare chance to formally end the war on the Korean Peninsula. Such a breakthrough, if achieved, will probably pave the way to a possible unification of the two Koreas in the future.
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