Kim Jong Un

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Kim Jong-un

Assumed office 
17 December 2011
Premier Choe Yong-rim
Pak Pong-ju
Preceded by Kim Jong-il

Assumed office 
11 April 2012
Deputy Kim Yong-nam
Choe Yong-rim
Choe Ryong-hae
Ri Yong-ho
Preceded by Kim Jong-il (general secretary)

Assumed office 
13 April 2012
Deputy Kim Yong-chun
Ri Yong-mu
O Kuk-ryol
Preceded by Kim Jong-il (Chairman)

Assumed office 
30 December 2011[1]
Preceded by Kim Jong-il

Assumed office 
11 April 2012
Acting: 17 December 2011 – 11 April 2012
Deputy Choe Ryong-hae
Ri Yong-ho
Preceded by Kim Jong-il

Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission
In office
28 September 2010 – 11 April 2012
Serving with Ri Yong-ho
Leader Kim Jong-il
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Choe Ryong-hae
Ri Yong-ho

Born 8 January 1983 (age 37)[2]
Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Political party Workers' Party
Spouse(s) Ri Sol-ju
Children Kim Ju-ae
Alma mater Kim Il-sung University
Kim Il-sung Military University
Religion None (atheism)
Military service
Allegiance  Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Years of service 2010–present
Rank Marshal of the Republic (공화국원수, Konghwaguk wonsu)
Commands Supreme Commander

Kim Jong Un (born ca. 1983) is the current ruler of communist North Korea. He succeeded his father, Kim Jong Il, when he died in late 2011. He is the grandchild of the founder and first ruler of the North Korean communist state, Kim Il Sung.

Ruler of North Korea

On 17 December 2011, Kim Jong-il died. Despite the elder Kim's plans, it was not immediately clear after his death whether Jong-un would in fact take full power, and what his exact role in a new government would be.[3] Some analysts had predicted that when Kim Jong-il died, Jang Sung-taek would act as regent, as Jong-un was too inexperienced to immediately lead the country.[4] On 25 December 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 suggested that Jang had secured a key role in the North's powerful military, which pledged its allegiance to Kim Jong-un.[5]

The cult of personality around Kim Jong-un was 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"[6] and "respected comrade who is identical to Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il",[7] and was made chairman of the Kim Jong-il funeral committee. The Korean Central News Agency described Kim Jong-un as "a great person born of heaven", a propaganda term only his father and grandfather had enjoyed,[8] while the ruling Workers' Party said in an editorial: "We vow with bleeding tears to call Kim Jong-un our supreme commander, our leader."[9]

He was publicly declared Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army on 24 December 2011[10] and formally appointed to the position on 30 December when the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party "courteously proclaimed that the dear respected Kim Jong Un, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK, assumed the supreme commandership of the Korean People's Army".[1]

On 26 December 2011, the leading North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun announced that Kim Jong-un had been acting as chairman of the Central Military Commission,[11] and supreme leader of the country, following his father's demise.[12]

On 9 January 2012, a large rally was held by armed forces in front of Kumsusan Memorial Palace to honor Kim Jong-un and demonstrate loyalty.[13]

On 27 March 2012, Kim was elected to the Fourth Conference of the Workers' Party of Korea, that elected him first secretary, a newly made position, on 11 April. This position replaced the post of general secretary, which was awarded "eternally" to Kim Jong-il. At the conference, Kim Jong-un also took his father's seats as Politburo Presidium member and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.[14] In a speech made prior to the Conference, Kim Jong-un declared that "Imbuing the whole society with Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism is the highest programme of our Party". On 13 April 2012, the 5th Session of the 12th Supreme People's Assembly appointed Kim Jong-un First Chairman of the National Defence Commission.

On 15 April 2012, during a military parade to commemorate Kim Il-sung's centenary, Kim Jong-un made his first public speech.[15] That speech became the basis of "Onwards Toward the Final Victory", a repeatedly aired propaganda hymn dedicated to him.[16]

In July 2012, Kim Jong-un was promoted to wonsu, the highest active rank in the military. The decision was jointly issued on by the Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea, the National Defence Commission, and the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, the Korean Central News Agency subsequently announced. By this promotion, he is one of only two wonsu holders now alive in North Korea. The other is Lee Ul Sol, who received the rank in 1995. The only higher rank is Dae Wonsu (roughly translated as Grand Marshal or Generalissimo) which was held by Kim's grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and which was awarded posthumously to his father, Kim Jong-il, in February 2012.[17][18] The promotion confirmed Kim's role as top leader of the North Korean military and came days after the replacement of Chief of General Staff Ri Yong-ho by Hyon Yong-chol.


At first, very little was known about him. However, when it became clear to North Korean authorities that Kim Jong Il was dying, North Korea began progressively revealing Kim Jong Un to the rest of the world, as well as lauding him in their own internal propaganda.

Overall Policies

Now that Kim Jong Un is in power, he has changed none of the brutal communist policies of his father and grandfather. He has given no amnesty to the political prisoners that languish in the gulags scattered across North Korea, nor even done anything to improve their condition while in prison, and dissidents continue to be thrown into prison at the same rate as before.

Economic and Technological Situation Under His Rule

During the time he has ruled, North Korea has made no real progress, and is drifting even further behind the rest of the world. Kim's people continue to suffer and die from malnutrition, just as they did under his father and grandfather.

Threats Toward the Rest of the World

He and his military have threatened other nations many times. He has recently threatened to launch nuclear weapons at South Korea and the United States[19] [20]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named AFP2011
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named NYTRodman
  3. Tania Branigan (19 December 2011). "Kim Jong-il, North Korean leader, dies". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  4. Wallace, Rick; Sainsbury, Michael (29 September 2011). "Kim Jong-il's heir Kim Jong-un made general". The Australian. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  5. North Korean power-behind-throne emerges as neighbors meet. Reuters (25 December 2011). Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  6. Notice to All Party Members, Servicepersons and People (KCNA, 19 December 2011). Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  7. We Are under Respected Kim Jong Un (KCNA, 19 December 2011). Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  8. Associated Press (19 December 2011). NKorea grieves Kim Jong Il, state media hails son. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  9. N. Korea Media Begins Calling Kim Jong Un Supreme Commander. Bloomberg Businessweek, (24 December 2011) Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  10. "North Korea: Kim Jong-un hailed 'supreme commander'". BBC News. 24 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  11. N. Korean newspaper refers to successor son as head of key party organ Yonhap News Agency, 26 December 2011.
  12. Scott McDonald (30 December 2011). "North Korea vows no softening toward South". USA Today. 
  13. So Yeol Kim. Military Rallies in Keumsusan Square. Retrieved on 10 January 2012.
  14. Chris Green. Kim Takes More Top Posts. Retrieved on 12 April 2012.
  15. "N Korea's Kim Jong-un speaks publicly for first time". BBC. 14 April 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  16. Tania Branigan (6 July 2012). "North Korea's Kim Jong-un gets new official theme song". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  17. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named marshall
  18. "Kim Jong Eun Promoted to Marshal". Korean Central News Agency. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 

External links

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