Kim Jong-il
Overview
 
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 the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 (North Korea). He is the Chairman of the National Defence Commission
Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea
The Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea is the supreme commander of the armed forces of North Korea and the most powerful person in the government...

, General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea
General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea
Prior to 1966 the leader of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea was the Chairman of the Central Committee. Since 1966, the year a party congress reformed the structure of the Party, the Central Committee has elected a leader called the General Secretary.-General Secretary of the...

, the ruling party since 1948, and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army
Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army
Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army is the highest post of command of the Korean People's Army, the army of North Korea and is in charge of one of the largest standing armies in the world with around 5.9 million active duty personnel and reserves...

, the fourth largest standing army in the world.
Quotations

Well, Madame Choi, you must be surprised to see that I resemble the droppings of a midget.

Remark to kidnapped South Korean actress Choi Eun-hee|Choi Eun-hee

It's all a lie. They're just pretending to praise me.

Remark to kidnapped South Korean director Shin Sang-ok|Shin Sang-ok (7 March 1983), regarding the people's devotion to him

The Armistice Agreement [that ended fighting in the Korean War in 1953] has, in effect, become a blank piece of paper without any effect or significance.

I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired.

Encyclopedia
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 the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 (North Korea). He is the Chairman of the National Defence Commission
Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea
The Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea is the supreme commander of the armed forces of North Korea and the most powerful person in the government...

, General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea
General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea
Prior to 1966 the leader of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea was the Chairman of the Central Committee. Since 1966, the year a party congress reformed the structure of the Party, the Central Committee has elected a leader called the General Secretary.-General Secretary of the...

, the ruling party since 1948, and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army
Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army
Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army is the highest post of command of the Korean People's Army, the army of North Korea and is in charge of one of the largest standing armies in the world with around 5.9 million active duty personnel and reserves...

, 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". His son Kim Jong-un was promoted to a senior position in the ruling Workers' Party and is heir apparent
Heir apparent
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

. In 2010 he was ranked 31st in Forbes Magazine's List of The World's Most Powerful People
Forbes Magazine's List of The World's Most Powerful People
Starting in 2009, Forbes Magazine compiles an annual list of the world's most powerful people. The list has one slot for every 100 million people on Earth, meaning in 2009 there were 67 people on the list, in 2010 there were 68, and in 2011 there were 70. Slots are allocated based on the financial...

..

Birth

Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 records show that Kim Jong-il was born in the village of Vyatskoye, near Khabarovsk
Khabarovsk
Khabarovsk is the largest city and the administrative center of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia. It is located some from the Chinese border. It is the second largest city in the Russian Far East, after Vladivostok. The city became the administrative center of the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia...

, in 1941, where his father, Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

, commanded the 1st Battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 of the Soviet 88th Brigade, made up of Chinese and Korean exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

s. Kim Jong-il's mother, Kim Jong-suk
Kim Jong-suk
Kim Jong-suk was a Korean independence activist and Communist politician. She was North Korean Great Leader Kim Il-sung's first wife and Kim Jong-il's mother.-Biography:...

, 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
Baekdu Mountain
Baekdu Mountain, also known in China as Changbai Mountain and Baitou Mountain , is a volcanic mountain on the border between North Korea and China, located at...

 in Japanese Korea
Korea under Japanese rule
Korea was under Japanese rule as part of Japan's 35-year imperialist expansion . Japanese rule ended in 1945 shortly after the Japanese defeat in World War II....

 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
Korea under Japanese rule
Korea was under Japanese rule as part of Japan's 35-year imperialist expansion . Japanese rule ended in 1945 shortly after the Japanese defeat in World War II....

. His father returned to Pyongyang
Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...

 that September, and in late November Kim returned to Korea via a Soviet ship, landing at Sonbong
Sonbong
Sonbong, formerly called Unggi , is a subdivision of the North Korean city of Rason. It is located at the northeastern extreme of North Korea, bordering Russia and China. It lies on Unggi Bay, an extension of the Sea of Japan . A uranium mine is allegedly located there, as is a 200 megawatt...

 (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.

Education

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
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

.

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
University of Malta
The University of Malta is the highest educational institution in Malta Europe and is one of the most respected universities in Europe. The University offers undergraduate Bachelor's Degrees, postgraduate Master's Degrees and postgraduate Doctorates .-History:The University of Malta was founded in...

 in the early 1970s, on his infrequent holidays in Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 as guest of Prime Minister Dom Mintoff
Dom Mintoff
Dom Mintoff is a Maltese politician, journalist and architect, who served as leader of the Labour Party from 1949 to 1984, Prime Minister of Malta from 1955 to 1958 and again, post-Independence, from 1971 to...

.

The elder Kim had meanwhile remarried and had another son, Kim Pyong-il
Kim Pyong-il
Kim Pyong-il is the half-brother of the current leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, and the son of former leader Kim Il-sung.-Family background and early life:Kim was born to Kim Il-sung and Kim Song-ae, Kim Il-sung's former secretary...

 (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.

Presidium member and party secretary (1980–1994)

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
Politburo
Politburo , literally "Political Bureau [of the Central Committee]," is the executive committee for a number of communist political parties.-Marxist-Leninist states:...

, 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
Heir apparent
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

 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
Hwang Jang-yop
Hwang Jang-yop was a major politician in North Korea who defected to South Korea in 1997, making him to date the highest-ranking defector from the isolated state. He was largely responsible for crafting the Juche Idea, North Korea's official state ideology.-Early life and career:Hwang was born in...

, 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
Juche
Juche or Chuch'e is a Korean word usually translated as "self-reliance." In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea , "Juche" refers specifically to a political thesis of Kim Il-sung, the Juche Idea, that identifies the Korean masses as the masters of the country's development...

(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
Rangoon bombing
The Rangoon bombing of October 9, 1983, was an assassination attempt against Chun Doo-hwan, the then-President of South Korea, allegedly orchestrated by North Korea. Two of the bombers were captured, one of whom confessed to being a North Korean military officer.-Bombing:On October 9, 1983,...

, Burma (now Yangon
Yangon
Yangon is a former capital of Burma and the capital of Yangon Region . Although the military government has officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw since March 2006, Yangon, with a population of over four million, continues to be the country's largest city and the most important commercial...

, 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
Korean Air Flight 858
Korean Air Flight 858 was a scheduled international passenger flight between Baghdad, Iraq, and Seoul, South Korea that exploded in mid-air on 29 November 1987 after two North Korean agents planted a bomb in the passenger cabin...

. A North Korean agent, Kim Hyon Hui
Kim Hyon Hui
Kim Hyun-Hui is a former North Korean operative responsible for the Korean Air Flight 858 bombing in 1987, which killed 115 people.- Early life :...

, 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
Kim Il-sung Square
Kim Il-sung Square is a city square in Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and is named after the founding leader of the DPRK, Kim Il-sung. Opened in August 1954, the square is located on the west bank of the Taedong River, directly opposite the Juche Tower on the other side of the...

, 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
Ten thousand years
The use of the phrase "ten thousand years" in various East Asian languages originated in ancient China as an expression used to wish long life to the Emperor, and is typically translated as "long live" in English...

" three times after that.

Ruler of North Korea

On 8 July 1994, Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

 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
Workers' Party of Korea
The Workers' Party of Korea is the ruling Communist party of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea , commonly known as North Korea. It is also called the Korean Workers' Party...

 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
Triumvirate
A triumvirate is a political regime dominated by three powerful individuals, each a triumvir . The arrangement can be formal or informal, and though the three are usually equal on paper, in reality this is rarely the case...

 heading the executive branch of the North Korean government along with Premier Choe Yong-rim
Choe Yong-rim
Choe Yong-rim is the Premier of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea since May 2011 and Workers' Party of Korea central committee presidium member since September 2010., KCNA, 29 September 2010.Choe is described by the New York Times as a "KWP insider" and a...

 and parliament chairman Kim Yong-nam
Kim Yong-nam
Kim Yong-nam is the current North Korean Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, a position held since 1998. He was elected a member of the presidium of the politburo of the central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in 2010.He was born in the Central District, Heijo ,...

 (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.

Economic policies

The state-controlled economy of North Korea
Economy of North Korea
The economy of North Korea is an industrialized and centrally planned economy.North Korea's economy remains one of the world's last centrally planned systems. The role of market allocation is sharply limited – mainly in the rural sector where some peasants sell produce from small private plots....

 struggled throughout the 1990s, primarily due to mismanagement. In addition, North Korea experienced severe floods in the mid-1990s, exacerbated by poor land management. 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
Songun
Sŏn'gun, often spelled Songun, is North Korea's "Military First" policy, which prioritizes the Korean People's Army in the affairs of state and allocates national resources to the army first...

 (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
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 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
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 in the late 1980s and early 90s. During a rare visit in 2006, Kim expressed admiration for China's rapid economic progress.

Foreign relations

In 1998, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung implemented the "Sunshine Policy
Sunshine policy
The Sunshine Policy was the foreign policy of South Korea towards North Korea until Lee Myung-bak's election to presidency in 2008. Since its articulation in 1998 by South Korean President Kim Dae Jung, the policy resulted in greater political contact between the two nations and some historical...

" 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
Korean Demilitarized Zone
The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half, crossing the 38th parallel on an angle, with the west end of the DMZ lying south of the parallel and...

, 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
North Korea and weapons of mass destruction
North Korea has declared that it has nuclear weapons and is believed by many to have nuclear weapons. The CIA assesses that North Korea also has a substantial arsenal of chemical weapons...

 in exchange for aid in producing two power-generating nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

s. 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
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. On 9 October 2006, North Korea's Korean Central News Agency announced that it had successfully conducted an underground nuclear test.

2008 health and waning power rumors

In an August 2008 issue of the Japanese newsweekly Shukan Gendai
Shukan Gendai
is a Japanese weekly magazine published since 1959 by Kodansha. Published simultaneously with Weekly Post , it includes articles about political scandals, sports and celebrities; nude photos; movie information; book reviews; and other articles of interest to middle-aged salarymen...

, Waseda University
Waseda University
, abbreviated as , is one of the most prestigious private universities in Japan and Asia. Its main campuses are located in the northern part of Shinjuku, Tokyo. Founded in 1882 as Tokyo Senmon Gakko, the institution was renamed "Waseda University" in 1902. It is known for its liberal climate...

 professor Toshimitsu Shigemura, an authority on the Korean Peninsula
Korean Peninsula
The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.Until the end of...

, 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
2008 Summer Olympics torch relay
The 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay was run from March 24 until August 8, 2008, prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics, with the theme of "one world, one dream". Plans for the relay were announced on April 26, 2007, in Beijing, China...

 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
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 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
Kim Yong-nam
Kim Yong-nam is the current North Korean Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, a position held since 1998. He was elected a member of the presidium of the politburo of the central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in 2010.He was born in the Central District, Heijo ,...

 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." The New 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
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 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
Mainichi Shimbun
The is one of the major newspapers in Japan, published by .-History:The history of the Mainichi Shimbun begins with founding of two papers during the Meiji period. The Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun was founded first, in 1872. The Mainichi claims that it is the oldest existing Japanese daily newspaper...

 said Kim occasionally lost consciousness since April. Japan's Tokyo Shimbun
Tokyo Shimbun
The Tokyo Shimbun is a Japanese newspaper published by The Chunichi Shimbun Company. The group publishes newspapers under the brand name of The Tokyo Shimbun in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area and under The Chunichi Shimbun in the Nagoya Metropolitan Area. The group’s combined daily morning...

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
Yomiuri Shimbun
The is a Japanese newspaper published in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and other major Japanese cities. It is one of the five national newspapers in Japan; the other four are the Asahi Shimbun, the Mainichi Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, and the Sankei 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
Taro Aso
was the 92nd Prime Minister of Japan serving from September 2008 to September 2009, and was defeated in the August 2009 election.He has served in the House of Representatives since 1979. He was Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2007, and was Secretary-General of the LDP briefly in 2007 and...

, on 28 October 2008, stated in a parliamentary session
Parliamentary session
A legislative session is the period of time in which a legislature, in both parliamentary and presidential systems, is convened for purpose of lawmaking, usually being one of two or more smaller divisions of the entire time between two elections...

 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
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

 that "Kim appeared to be recovering quickly enough to start performing his daily duties." The Dong-a Ilbo
Dong-a Ilbo
The Dong-a Ilbo is one of three major South Korean newspapers with over 2 million daily circulation...

newspaper reported "a serious problem" with Kim's health. Japan's Fuji Television Network reported 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
Le Point
Le Point is a French weekly news magazine. It was founded in 1972 by a group of journalists who had, one year earlier, left the editorial team of L'Express, which was then owned by Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, a député of the Parti Radical...

identified him as Francois-Xavier Roux, neurosurgery
Neurosurgery
Neurosurgery is the medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of disorders which affect any portion of the nervous system including the brain, spine, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and extra-cranial cerebrovascular system.-In the United States:In...

 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
Korean People's Army
The Korean People's Army , also known as the Inmin Gun, are the military forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Kim Jong-il is the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army and Chairman of the National Defence Commission...

 (KPA) soldiers on a visit to military Unit 2200 and sub-unit of Unit 534. Shown with his usual bouffant
Bouffant
A bouffant is a type of hairstyle characterized by hair piled high on the head and hanging down on the sides.-History:The bouffant was a mainstream hairstyle in the mid-to-late 18th century in western Europe. It was thought to be created for Marie Antoinette, as she had relatively thin hair and...

 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
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

questioned the authenticity of at least one of these photos.

In November 2008, Japan's TBS TV network
Tokyo Broadcasting System
, TBS Holdings, Inc. or TBSHD, is a stockholding company in Tokyo, Japan. It is a parent company of a television network named and radio network named ....

 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
Wikileaks
WikiLeaks is an international self-described not-for-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Its website, launched in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organisation, claimed a database of more...

 stated that Kim suffers from epilepsy
Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain.About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly two out of every three new cases...

.

Successor

Kim's three sons and his son-in-law, along with O Kuk-ryol
O Kuk-ryol
O Kuk-ryol is a North Korean military general and since April 2009, has been a vice chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea as head of its Operations Department...

, 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
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

's Dongguk University
Dongguk University
Dongguk University is a private, coeducational university in South Korea. It operates campuses in Seoul, in Gyeongju City, North Gyeongsang province and in Los Angeles, United States...

, has said, "Even the North Korean establishment would not advocate a continuation of the family dynasty
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

 at this point." Kim's eldest son Kim Jong-nam
Kim Jong-nam
Kim Jong-nam , is the eldest son of Kim Jong-Il, ruler of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. From roughly 1998 to 2001, he was widely considered to be the heir-apparent to his father and the next leader of North Korea...

 was earlier believed to be the designated heir but he appears to have fallen out of favor after being arrested at Narita International Airport
Narita International Airport
is an international airport serving the Greater Tokyo Area of Japan. It is located east of Tokyo Station and east-southeast of Narita Station in the city of Narita, and the adjacent town of Shibayama....

 near Tokyo in 2001 while traveling on a forged
Forgery
Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations. Forging money or...

 passport
Passport
A passport is a document, issued by a national government, which certifies, for the purpose of international travel, the identity and nationality of its holder. The elements of identity are name, date of birth, sex, and place of birth....

.

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
Chang Sung-taek
Chang Sung-taek, is a North Korean politician and the brother-in-law of Kim Jong-il. He is a leading figure in the North Korean government, and South Korean government officials and academic North Korea watchers suggested that he may have taken on de facto leadership over North Korea due to Kim...

, could attempt to take power from him.

Re-election as DPRK leader

On 9 April 2009, Kim was re-elected as chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission, and made an appearance at the Supreme People's Assembly. This was the first time Kim was seen in public since August 2008. He was unanimously re-elected and given a standing ovation.

2009 imprisonment and pardoning of American journalists

In March 2009, the North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

n military
Korean People's Army
The Korean People's Army , also known as the Inmin Gun, are the military forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Kim Jong-il is the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army and Chairman of the National Defence Commission...

 detained two American journalists, Euna Lee
Euna Lee
Euna Lee is a South Korean-born American journalist who has worked for Current TV since 2005. Lee and fellow journalist Laura Ling were detained in North Korea after they crossed into the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from the People's Republic of China without a visa...

 and Laura Ling
Laura Ling
Laura G. Ling is an American journalist, working for Current TV as a correspondent and vice president of its Vanguard Journalism Unit, which produces the Vanguard TV series. She is the sister of Lisa Ling, who is a special correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show, National Geographic Explorer,...

, who were working for the US independent cable television
Cable television
Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...

 network Current TV
Current TV
Current TV, or Current, is a media company led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt. Comcast owns a ten percent stake of Current's parent company, Current Media LLC....

, after they allegedly crossed into North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 from the People's Republic of China without a visa. The two reporters were found guilty of illegal entry and subsequently sentenced to twelve years of hard labor
Labor camp
A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are forced to engage in penal labor. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons...

. Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

 characterized the trial and sentencing as a "sham trial
Show trial
The term show trial is a pejorative description of a type of highly public trial in which there is a strong connotation that the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt of the defendant. The actual trial has as its only goal to present the accusation and the verdict to the public as...

", and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

 initially stated that the charges against the journalists were "baseless".

On 4 August 2009, former US President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 met with Kim Jong-il during a "solely private mission to secure the release of Euna Lee
Euna Lee
Euna Lee is a South Korean-born American journalist who has worked for Current TV since 2005. Lee and fellow journalist Laura Ling were detained in North Korea after they crossed into the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from the People's Republic of China without a visa...

 and Laura Ling
Laura Ling
Laura G. Ling is an American journalist, working for Current TV as a correspondent and vice president of its Vanguard Journalism Unit, which produces the Vanguard TV series. She is the sister of Lisa Ling, who is a special correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show, National Geographic Explorer,...

." According to the KCNA, Clinton conveyed a verbal message to Kim from President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, a claim denied by the Obama administration. Clinton and Kim had "an exhaustive conversation" that included "a wide-ranging exchange of views on the matters of common concern," KCNA reported. KCNA also reported that the National Defence Commission of North Korea
National Defence Commission of North Korea
The National Defense Commission of North Korea is defined by the 1998 constitution as “the highest guiding organ of the military and the managing organ of military matters.” The Chairman of the National Defense Commission controls the armed forces and, in this state where the military...

, of which the Dear Leader is the Chairman, hosted a dinner in honor of Clinton, but did not go into detail about what was discussed at the reception. In the early morning hours (UTC+9
UTC+9
UTC+09:00 is an identifier for a time offset from UTC of +09. This time is used in:-As standard time :*East Timor*Indonesia **Moluccas**Papua and West Papua *Japan - Japan Standard Time*North Korea...

) of 5 August, KCNA announced that Kim Jong-il had issued a pardon to Lee and Ling.

2010 and 2011 foreign visits

Kim reportedly visited the People's Republic of China in May 2010. He entered the country by his personal train on 3 May, and stayed in a hotel in Dalian
Dalian
Dalian is a major city and seaport in the south of Liaoning province, Northeast China. It faces Shandong to the south, the Yellow Sea to the east and the Bohai Sea to the west and south. Holding sub-provincial administrative status, Dalian is the southernmost city of Northeast China and China's...

. He travelled to China again in August 2010, this time with his son, fueling speculation that he is ready to hand over power to son Kim Jong-un. He returned to China again in May 2011, marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between China and the DPRK. In late August 2011, he travelled by train to the Russian Far East to meet with President Dmitri Medvedev for unspecified talks.

Cult of personality

Kim Jong-il is the centre of an elaborate personality cult inherited from his father and founder of the DPRK, Kim Il-sung. Defectors have been quoted as saying that North Korean schools deify both father and son. He is often the centre of attention throughout ordinary life in the DPRK. On his 60th birthday (based on his official date of birth), mass celebrations occurred throughout the country on the occasion of his Hwangap. Many North Koreans believe that he has the "magical" ability to "control the weather
Weather control
Weather control is the act of manipulating or altering certain aspects of the environment to produce desirable changes in weather. Weather control can have the goal of preventing damaging weather, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, from occurring; of causing beneficial weather, such as rainfall in...

" based on his mood. In 2010, the North Korean media reported that Kim's distinctive clothing had set worldwide fashion trends.

One point of view is that Kim Jong Il's cult of personality is solely out of respect for Kim Il-sung or out of fear of punishment for failure to pay homage. Media and government sources from outside of North Korea generally support this view, while North Korean government sources say that it is genuine hero worship. The song "No Motherland Without You
No Motherland Without You
No Motherland Without You is North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's signature tune. It proclaims the talent and virtues of Kim Jong-il, and the attachment of the Korean people for him...

", sung by the KPA State Merited Choir, was created especially for Kim in 1992 and is frequently broadcasted on the radio and from loudspeakers on the streets of Pyongyang.

Family

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
Mistress (lover)
A mistress is a long-term female lover and companion who is not married to her partner; the term is used especially when her partner is married. The relationship generally is stable and at least semi-permanent; however, the couple does not live together openly. Also the relationship is usually,...

. He has four known children:
  • Kim Sul-song
    Kim Sul-Song
    Kim Sul-song, or Kim Seol-song , is the daughter of the North Korea's de facto leader Kim Jong-Il and Kim Young-sook...

     (daughter)
  • Kim Jong-nam
    Kim Jong-nam
    Kim Jong-nam , is the eldest son of Kim Jong-Il, ruler of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. From roughly 1998 to 2001, he was widely considered to be the heir-apparent to his father and the next leader of North Korea...

     (son)
  • Kim Jong-chul
    Kim Jong-chul (political figure)
    Kim Jong-chul is the middle son of Kim Jong-il, leader of North Korea . His older half-brother is Kim Jong-nam. His younger brother is Kim Jong-un, supposed heir-apparent to North Korea's de facto leadership.In 2007, Jong-chul was appointed deputy chief of a leadership division of the Workers' Party...

     (son)
  • Kim Jong-un (son)


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

, 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
Song Hye-rim
Song Hye-rim was a North Korean actress and one-time favored mistress of Kim Jong-il. She was born in present-day South Korea, in Changnyeong, South Gyeongsang.-Biography:...

, 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
Central Clinical Hospital
The Central Clinical Hospital of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation is a heavily-guarded facility seven miles northwest of the Kremlin in an exclusive, wooded suburban area known as Kuntsevo. It's considered to be the best hospital in Russia and one of the best hospitals in...

 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
First Lady
First Lady or First Gentlemanis the unofficial title used in some countries for the spouse of an elected head of state.It is not normally used to refer to the spouse or partner of a prime minister; the husband or wife of the British Prime Minister is usually informally referred to as prime...

 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
Kim Ok
Kim Ok is a North Korean, occasionally regarded as "North Korea's first lady", and has served as Kim Jong-il's personal secretary since the 1980s...

, 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
Kim Kyong-hui
General Kim Kyong-hui is the daughter of Kim Il-sung and his first wife Kim Jong-suk, and the sister of the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il. An important member of Kim Jong-il's inner circle of trusted friends and advisors, she has been director of the Light Industry Department of the Workers'...

 (김경희).






Personality

Like his father, Kim has a fear of flying
Fear of flying
A fear of flying is a fear of being on an airplane , or other flying vehicle, such as a helicopter, while in flight. It is also sometimes referred to as aerophobia, aviatophobia, aviophobia or pteromerhanophobia....

, and always travels by private armored train
North Korean presidential trains
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is known to use his high-security private trains as his preferred method of domestic and international travel, as was his father and predecessor Kim Il Sung....

 for state visits to Russia and China. The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 reported that Konstantin Pulikovsky, a Russian emissary who traveled with Kim across Russia by train, told reporters that Kim had live lobster
Lobster
Clawed lobsters comprise a family of large marine crustaceans. Highly prized as seafood, lobsters are economically important, and are often one of the most profitable commodities in coastal areas they populate.Though several groups of crustaceans are known as lobsters, the clawed lobsters are most...

s 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 13th, Rambo, Godzilla, and Hong Kong action cinema
Hong Kong action cinema
Hong Kong action cinema is the principal source of the Hong Kong film industry's global fame. It combines elements from the action film, as codified by Hollywood, with Chinese storytelling and aesthetic traditions, to create a culturally distinctive form that nevertheless has a wide transcultural...

, and any movie starring Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, DBE was a British-American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age...

. 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
Choi Eun-hee
Choi Eun-hee is a South Korean actress. She began her film career in 1947 in the film A New Oath. For the next 20 years, she was one of the biggest stars in Korean film and led the Shin Film company along with her husband, the director Shin Sang-ok.In 1978, Choi and Shin, who she had recently...

 were kidnapped
North Korean abductions of South Koreans
An estimated 84,532 South Koreans were taken to North Korea during the Korean War. In addition, South Korean statistics claim that, since the Korean Armistice in 1953, about 3,800 people have been abducted in North Korea , 480 of whom are still being held by North Korea.- Two types of Abductees...

 in order to build a North Korean film industry. In 2006 he was involved in the production of the Juche
Juche
Juche or Chuch'e is a Korean word usually translated as "self-reliance." In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea , "Juche" refers specifically to a political thesis of Kim Il-sung, the Juche Idea, that identifies the Korean masses as the masters of the country's development...

-based movie Diary of a Girl Student – depicting the life of a girl whose parents are scientists – with a KCNA
Korean Central News Agency
The Korean Central News Agency is the state news agency of North Korea and has existed since December 5, 1946. KCNA is headquartered in the capital city of Pyongyang...

 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
Kenji Fujimoto
is the pen name of the Japanese man alleged to be North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's personal sushi chef from 1988 to 2001. Fujimoto published a memoir in 2003 entitled I was Kim Jong Il's Cook, detailing many of his experiences with Kim Jong-il....

, however, has stated that Kim has sometimes sent him around the world to purchase a variety of foreign delicacies
Delicacy
A delicacy is a food item that is considered highly desirable in certain cultures. Often this is because of unusual flavors or characteristics or because it is rare....

.

Kim reportedly enjoys basketball. Former United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Korbelová Albright is the first woman to become a United States Secretary of State. She was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996, and was unanimously confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 99–0...

 ended her summit with Kim by presenting him with a basketball signed by NBA
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

 legend Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan
Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a former American professional basketball player, active entrepreneur, and majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats...

. Also an apparent golfer, North Korean state media reports that Kim routinely shoots three or four holes-in-one
Hole in one
In golf, a hole in one or hole-in-one is when a player hits the ball directly from the tee into the cup with one shot. This is most possible on a par 3 hole. Longer hitters have accomplished this feat on shorter par 4 holes...

 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
Antisocial personality disorder
Antisocial personality disorder is described by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition , as an Axis II personality disorder characterized by "...a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood...

 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
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, and Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 (sadistic
Sadistic personality disorder
Sadistic personality disorder is a diagnosis which appeared only in an appendix of the revised third edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . The current version of the DSM does not include it, so it is no longer considered a valid...

, paranoid
Paranoid personality disorder
Paranoid personality disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis characterized by paranoia and a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others....

, antisocial
Antisocial personality disorder
Antisocial personality disorder is described by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition , as an Axis II personality disorder characterized by "...a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood...

, narcissistic
Narcissistic personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity...

, schizoid
Schizoid personality disorder
Schizoid personality disorder is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of interest in social relationships, a tendency towards a solitary lifestyle, secretiveness, emotional coldness, and sometimes apathy, with a simultaneous rich, elaborate, and exclusively internal fantasy world...

 and schizotypal
Schizotypal personality disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder, or simply schizotypal disorder, is a personality disorder that is characterized by a need for social isolation, anxiety in social situations, odd behavior and thinking, and often unconventional beliefs.-Genetic:...

) 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
Self-deception
Self-deception is a process of denying or rationalizing away the relevance, significance, or importance of opposing evidence and logical argument...

, 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
Baekdu Mountain
Baekdu Mountain, also known in China as Changbai Mountain and Baitou Mountain , is a volcanic mountain on the border between North Korea and China, located at...

, a seaside lodge in the city of Wonsan
Wonsan
Wŏnsan is a port city and naval base in southeastern North Korea. It is the capital of Kangwŏn Province. The population of the city is estimated to have been 331,000 in 2000. Notable people from Wŏnsan include Kim Ki Nam, diplomat and Secretary of the Workers' Party.- History :The original name of...

, and a palace complex northeast of Pyongyang surrounded with multiple fence lines, bunker
Bunker
A military bunker is a hardened shelter, often buried partly or fully underground, designed to protect the inhabitants from falling bombs or other attacks...

s and anti-aircraft batteries.

Finances

According to the Sunday Telegraph
Sunday Telegraph
The Sunday Telegraph is a British broadsheet newspaper, founded in February 1961. It is the sister paper of The Daily Telegraph, but is run separately with a different editorial staff, although there is some cross-usage of stories...

, Kim has US$4 billion on deposit in European banks in case he ever needs to flee North Korea. The Sunday Telegraph
Sunday Telegraph
The Sunday Telegraph is a British broadsheet newspaper, founded in February 1961. It is the sister paper of The Daily Telegraph, but is run separately with a different editorial staff, although there is some cross-usage of stories...

 reported that most of the money was in banks in Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

.

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
    Korean People's Army
    The Korean People's Army , also known as the Inmin Gun, are the military forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Kim Jong-il is the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army and Chairman of the National Defence Commission...

     (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-)

See also

  • List of Korea-related topics
  • Sinuiju North Korean Leader's Residence
  • North Korea
    North Korea
    The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...



Further reading


External links

 – Foreign Languages Publishing House, Pyongyang DPR Korea (1998)

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