Kim Jong-il

Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il on August 24, 2011 (mini).jpg
Kim Jong-il in 2011
Supreme Leader of North Korea
In office
9 April 2009 – 17 December 2011
Preceded byKim Il-sung (as President)
Succeeded byKim Jong-un
General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea
In office
8 October 1997 – 17 December 2011
Eternal General Secretary since 11 April 2012
Preceded byKim Il-sung (as General Secretary of the Central Committee)
Succeeded byKim Jong-un (as First Secretary)
Chairman of the National Defence Commission
In office
9 April 1993 – 17 December 2011
Eternal Chairman since 13 April 2012
DeputyJo Myong-rok
Preceded byKim Il-sung
Succeeded byKim Jong-un (as First Chairman)
Supreme Commander
of the Korean People's Army
In office
24 December 1991 – 17 December 2011
Preceded byKim Il-sung
Succeeded byKim Jong-un
Personal details
Yuri Irsenovich Kim

(1941-02-16)16 February 1941
Vyatskoye, Khabarovsky District, Khabarovsk Krai, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (Soviet records)
(1942-02-16)16 February 1942
Baekdu Mountain, Japanese Korea (North Korean biography) (Present-Day Ryanggang, North Korea and Jilin, China)
Died17 December 2011(2011-12-17) (aged 70)
Pyongyang, North Korea
Cause of deathMyocardial infarction
Resting placeKumsusan Palace of the Sun, Pyongyang, North Korea
NationalityNorth Korean
Soviet (Koryo-saram)
Spouse(s)Hong Il-chon (1966–1969)
Kim Young-sook (1974–2011)
Domestic partnerSong Hye-rim (1968–2002)
Ko Yong-hui (1977–2004)
Kim Ok (2004–2011)
ChildrenKim Jong-nam
Kim Sul-song
Kim Jong-chul
Kim Jong-un
Kim Yo-jong[1]
ParentsKim Il-sung
Kim Jong-suk
Alma materMangyongdae Revolutionary School
Kim Il-sung University
Military service
Allegiance North Korea
Branch/service Korean People's Army
Years of service1991–2011
RankGeneralissimo rank insignia (North Korea).svg Taewonsu (대원수, roughly translated as Grand Marshal or Generalissimo)
CommandsSupreme Commander
^ North Korean biographies, which claim his birth date as 16 February 1942, are generally not considered to be factually reliable.

Leaders of the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Kim Jong-il or Kim Jong Il
Kim Jong-il (Korean and Chinese characters).svg
"Kim Jong-il" in Chosŏn'gŭl (top) and hancha (bottom) scripts.
Revised RomanizationGim Jeong(-)il
McCune–ReischauerKim Chŏngil

Kim Jong-il (officially transcribed Kim Jong Il; Korean김정일; Korean pronunciation: [kim.dzɔŋ.il];[a] 16 February 1941 – 17 December 2011) was the second leader of North Korea. He ruled from the death of his father Kim Il-sung, the first leader of North Korea, in 1994 until his own death in 2011. He was an unelected dictator and was often accused of human rights violations.[2]

Kim was born in Vyatskoye, Russia, then part of the Soviet Union. By the early 1980s, Kim had become the heir apparent for the leadership of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and assumed important posts in the party and army organs. Kim succeeded his father and DPRK founder, Kim Il-sung, following the elder Kim's death in 1994. Kim was the General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), WPK Presidium, Chairman of the National Defence Commission (NDC) of North Korea and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army (KPA), the fourth-largest standing army in the world.

During Kim's rule, the country suffered famine and had a poor human rights record. Kim involved his country in state terrorism and strengthened the role of the military by his Songun ("military-first") politics. Kim's rule also saw tentative economic reforms, including the opening of the Kaesong Industrial Park in 2003. In April 2009, North Korea's constitution was amended to refer to him and his successors as the "supreme leader of the DPRK".[3]

The most common colloquial title given to Kim was "Dear Leader" to distinguish him from his father Kim Il-sung, the "Great Leader". Following Kim's failure to appear at important public events in 2008, foreign observers assumed that Kim had either fallen seriously ill or died. On 19 December 2011, the North Korean government announced that he had died two days earlier,[4] whereupon his third son, Kim Jong-un, was promoted to a senior position in the ruling WPK and succeeded him.[5] After his death, Kim was designated the "Eternal General Secretary" of the WPK and the "Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission", in keeping with the tradition of establishing eternal posts for the dead members of the Kim dynasty.

Early life


Soviet records show that Kim was born Yuri Irsenovich Kim (Russian: Юрий Ирсенович Ким)[6][7][8] in 1941 in the village of Vyatskoye, near Khabarovsk,[9] where his father, Kim Il-sung, commanded the 1st Battalion of the Soviet 88th Brigade,[10] made up of Chinese and Korean exiles. Kim Jong-il's mother, Kim Jong-suk, was Kim Il-sung's first wife. Inside his family, he was nicknamed "Yura", while his younger brother Kim Man-il (born Alexander Irsenovich Kim) was nicknamed "Shura".

However, Kim Jong-il's official biography states he was born in a secret military camp on Paektu Mountain (Korean백두산밀영고향집; Baekdusan Miryeong Gohyang jip) in Japanese-occupied Korea on 16 February 1942.[11] According to one comrade of Kim's mother, Lee Min, word of Kim's birth first reached an army camp in Vyatskoye via radio and that both Kim and his mother did not return there until the following year.[12][13]

In 1945, Kim was four years old when World War II ended and Korea regained independence from Japan. His father returned to Pyongyang that September, and in late November Kim returned to Korea via a Soviet ship, landing at Sonbong. The family moved into a former Japanese officer's mansion in Pyongyang, with a garden and pool. Kim Jong-il's brother drowned there in 1948.[14]

Reports indicate that his mother died in childbirth in 1949.[15]


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.[16][17] 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.[18]

Throughout his schooling, Kim was involved in politics. He was active in the Korean Children's Union and the Democratic Youth League of North Korea (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 (the chairman had to be a teacher). He pursued a programme of anti-factionalism and attempted to encourage greater ideological education among his classmates.[19]

Kim is also said to have received English language education in Malta in the early 1970s[20][21] on his infrequent holidays there as a guest of Prime Minister Dom Mintoff.[22]

The elder Kim had meanwhile remarried and had another son, Kim Pyong-il. Since 1988, Kim Pyong-il has served in a series of North Korean embassies in Europe and was 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.[23]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kim Jong-il
Alemannisch: Kim Jong-il
العربية: كم جونغ إل
aragonés: Kim Jong-il
asturianu: Kim Jong-il
azərbaycanca: Kim Çen İr
বাংলা: কিম জং ইল
Bân-lâm-gú: Kim Jong-il
беларуская: Кім Чэн Ір
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Кім Чэн Ір
Bikol Central: Kim Jong-il
български: Ким Чен Ир
Boarisch: Kim Jong-il
bosanski: Kim Jong-il
brezhoneg: Kim Jong-il
català: Kim Jong-il
Cebuano: Kim Jong-il
čeština: Kim Čong-il
Cymraeg: Kim Jong-il
davvisámegiella: Kim Jong-il
Deutsch: Kim Jong-il
Ελληνικά: Κιμ Τζονγκ-ιλ
español: Kim Jong-il
Esperanto: Kim Ĝong-il
euskara: Kim Jong-il
français: Kim Jong-il
Gaeilge: Kim Jong-il
galego: Kim Jong-il
贛語: 金正日
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Kim Jong-il
한국어: 김정일
հայերեն: Կիմ Ջոնգ Իլ
हिन्दी: किम जोंग-इल
hrvatski: Kim Jong-il
Bahasa Indonesia: Kim Jong-il
íslenska: Kim Jong-il
italiano: Kim Jong-il
ქართული: კიმ ჩენ ირი
kurdî: Kim Jong-il
Latina: Gim Jeong-il
latviešu: Kims Čenirs
Lëtzebuergesch: Kim Jong-il
lietuvių: Kim Čen Iras
magyar: Kim Dzsongil
македонски: Ким Џонг Ил
മലയാളം: കിം ജോങ് ഇൽ
მარგალური: კიმ ჩენ ირი
Bahasa Melayu: Kim Jong-il
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Kim Jong-il
монгол: Ким Жон Ил
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ကင်ဂျုံအီ
Nederlands: Kim Jong-il
Nedersaksies: Kim Jong-il
नेपाली: किम जोङ् इल
日本語: 金正日
norsk nynorsk: Kim Jong-il
occitan: Kim Jong-il
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Kim Jong-il
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕਿਮ ਜੌਂਗ ਇਲ
پنجابی: کم جونگ اِل
ភាសាខ្មែរ: គីម ចុងអ៊ីល
Plattdüütsch: Kim Jong-il
polski: Kim Dzong Il
português: Kim Jong-il
română: Kim Jong-il
русский: Ким Чен Ир
sicilianu: Kim Jong Il
Simple English: Kim Jong-il
slovenčina: Kim Čong-il
slovenščina: Kim Džong-il
ślůnski: Kim Dzong-il
српски / srpski: Ким Џонг Ил
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kim Jong-il
svenska: Kim Jong-il
Tagalog: Kim Jong-il
тоҷикӣ: Ким Чен Ир
Türkçe: Kim Cong-il
українська: Кім Чен Ір
Tiếng Việt: Kim Jong-il
文言: 金正日
Winaray: Kim Jong-il
吴语: 金正日
Yorùbá: Kim Jong-il
粵語: 金正日
žemaitėška: Kim Džiuong Ils
中文: 金正日