Kim Jong-nam: Wikis


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Kim Jong-nam

Kim Jong-nam (right) as a child, with father Kim Jong-il (left)

Born May 10, 1971 (1971-05-10) (age 38)
Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Birth name Kim Jong-nam
Nationality North Korean
Political party Workers' Party of Korea
Relations Kim Jong-il (father)
Song Hye-rim (mother)
Kim Il-sung (grandfather)
Residence Unknown
Military service
Allegiance North Korea Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Kim Jong-nam
Chosŏn'gŭl 김정남
Hancha 金正男
McCune–Reischauer Kim Chŏng-nam
Revised Romanization Gim Jeong-nam
This is a Korean name; the family name is Kim.

Kim Jong-nam (born May 10, 1971, Pyongyang, North Korea), is the eldest son of Kim Jong-Il, ruler of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). Until around 2001, he was heir-apparent to his father, but is now thought to be out of favour.


Early life

Kim was born in Pyongyang, to Song Hye-rim, one of three women known to have had children with Kim Jong-il. Because Kim Jong-il aimed to keep his affair with Song a secret due to the disapproval of his father Kim Il-sung, he initially kept Jong-nam out of school, instead sending him to live with Song's older sister Song Hye-rang, who tutored him at home.[1] In 1996 Kim Jong-nam entered an elite school for the children of Korean Workers' Party (KWP) leaders.


In 1998 Kim was appointed to a senior position in the Ministry of Public Security, the DPRK security apparatus, indicating that he was being promoted as a future leader. He was also reported to have been appointed head of the DPRK Computer Committee, in charge of developing an information technology industry. In January 2001 he accompanied his father to Shanghai, where he had talks with Chinese officials on the IT industry.

2001 incident

The false Dominican passport used by Kim Jong-nam.

In May 2001, however, Kim was arrested on arrival at New Tokyo International Airport (now Narita International Airport), accompanied by two women and a four-year old boy identified as his son. He was traveling on a forged Dominican Republic passport using a Chinese alias, Pang Xiong (, Hanyu Pinyin Pàng Xióng[2], literally "fat bear").[3] Kim was reportedly wearing a white shirt and dark blazer along with sunglasses and a gold chain. After being detained for several days, he was deported, on the instructions of the Japanese government, to the People's Republic of China. Kim apparently told his questioners that he was in Japan to visit Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu, also near Tokyo. The incident caused Kim Jong-il to cancel a planned visit to China because of the embarrassment to both countries.

According to the Japanese magazine Shukan Shincho, Kim had made three previous clandestine visits to Japan.

Loss of favour

Until the Tokyo incident, Kim Jong-nam was expected to become leader of the country after his father. Now his youngest (half-)brother, Kim Jong-un is the favorite to succeed.[4]

In February 2003, the DPRK People's Army began a propaganda campaign under the slogan "The Respected Mother is the Most Faithful and Loyal Subject to the Dear Leader Comrade Supreme Commander." Since the "Respected Mother" was described as "[devoting] herself to the personal safety of the comrade supreme commander," and "[assisting] the comrade supreme commander nearest to his body," it is assumed that the "Respected Mother" is Ko Young-hee, and that the campaign is designed to promote Kim Jong-chul or Kim Jong-un, her sons. (A similar campaign was launched in praise of Kim Jong Il's mother during the later years of Kim Il-Sung's life.)


This suggests that Kim Jong-chul, despite his youth, may have emerged as a serious rival, with Army backing, to Kim Jong-nam as the long-term successor to power in the DPRK. Since the loyalty of the Army is the real foundation of the Kim family's continuing hold on power in the DPRK, this would be a serious development for Kim Jong-nam's prospects. In late 2003 it was reported that Kim Jong-nam was living in China, lending strength to this belief.

In 2003, Hwang Jang-yop, a former KWP secretary for international affairs who defected to South Korea in 1997, said, "An heir must be the child of a woman a king loves, and it is true that Kim Jong-il loves Koh Young-hee most. The fate of Kim Jong-nam is sealed."

Future in Korea

It was reported in the South China Morning Post on February 1, 2007, that Kim Jong-nam had been living incognito with his family in nearby Macau, for some three years, and that this was a cause of some embarrassment to both the Macau and Chinese governments.
According to Portuguese newspapers, Portuguese authorities, namely the Portuguese foreign affairs office and the Portuguese consulate in Macau, have expressly denied having issued a passport to Kim Jong-nam. According to the consul, Pedro Moitinho, "If such a document indeed exists, it is certainly a forgery".

In August 2007 it was reported that Kim Jong-nam had returned to the DPRK from China and had begun working at a key agency of the ruling Workers' Party, fueling speculation that the rift between Kim Jong-nam and his father had at least partially mended and that Kim Jong-nam was being groomed as a potential successor.[5] It was verified later on that this was a rumor and that Kim Jong-nam is still staying in Beijing and Macau as before while travelling to Austria and France (for medical reasons) early November 2007 where he gave a short interview to a Japanese TV channel after going to Moscow.

In January 2009, Kim said he had "no interest" in taking power in North Korea after his father, stating that it is only for him to decide.[6]

See also

Kim Hyŏng-jik
Kang Pan-sŏk
Kim Sŏng-ae
Kim Il-sung
Kim Jong-suk
Kim Young-sook
Song Hye-rim
Kim Jong-il
Ko Young-hee
Kim Ok
Kim Sul-song
Kim Jong-nam
Kim Jong-chul
Kim Jong-un

Social norms place the oldest son as heir to the father. Even a black sheep must realize the burden he bears. The fate of the unification of Korea now falls upon Kim Jong-nam. May he find the strength and the wisdom to proceed.


  1. ^ Lee, Adriana S. (2003-06-23). "Secret Lives". Time Magazine.,9171,460254-1,00.html. Retrieved 2007-10-29.  
  2. ^ "金正日夫人去世使继承人问题又增悬疑". Retrieved on 28 October 2008. (Chinese)
  3. ^ "Death of Kim's consort: Dynastic implications" (2 September 2004). Retrieved on 28 October 2008.
  4. ^ [ Kim Jong-il's grandson seen at concert], RTHK, 18 July 2009
  5. ^ "Exiled son 'returns to N Korea'" (27 August 2007). Retrieved on 28 October 2008.
  6. ^ Report: Kim's son hints no decision on successor, AP, January 23, 2009.

External links

Simple English

Kim Jong-nam (born May 10, 1971) is the oldest son of Kim Jong-il, leader of North Korea and some say he is expected to follow his father.

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