Kim Jong-il

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Kim Jong-il
Official portrait issued after his death, 2011
Supreme Leader of North Korea
In office
8 July 1994 – 17 December 2011[1]
PremierHong Song-nam
Pak Pong-ju
Kim Yong-il
Choe Yong-rim
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
DeputyKim Yong-nam
Choe Yong-rim
Jo Myong-rok
Ri Yong-ho
Preceded byKim Il-sung
Succeeded byPosition abolished
(Proclaimed Eternal Party General Secretary after his death)
Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea
In office
9 April 1993 – 17 December 2011
DeputyJo Myong-rok
Preceded byKim Il-sung
Succeeded byPosition abolished as Kim Jong-il was declared as the Eternal Chairman on 13 April 2012
Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army
In office
24 December 1991 – 17 December 2011
Preceded byKim Il-sung
Succeeded byKim Jong-un[2]
Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party
In office
8 October 1997 – 17 December 2011
DeputyKim Jong-un
Ri Yong-ho
Preceded byKim Il-sung
Succeeded byKim Jong-un
First Vice Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea
In office
24 May 1990 – 9 April 1993
LeaderKim Il-sung
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byO Chin-u
Personal details
Born(1941-02-16)16 February 1941
Vyatskoye, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (Soviet records)
(1942-02-16)16 February 1942
Baekdu Mountain, Japanese Korea (North Korean biography)[a]
Died17 December 2011(2011-12-17) (aged 70)
Pyongyang,[3] Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Resting placeKumsusan Palace of the Sun, Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Political partyWorkers' Party of Korea
Spouse(s)Kim Young-sook (1974–2011)
Domestic partnerSong Hye-rim (1968–2002)
Ko Young-hee (1977–2004)
Kim Ok (2004–2011)
ChildrenKim Sul-song
Kim Jong-nam
Kim Jong-chul
Kim Jong-un
Kim Yo-jong
Alma materMangyongdae Revolutionary School
Kim Il-sung University
Military service
Allegiance North Korea
Branch/serviceKorean People's Army
Years of service1991–2011
RankTaewonsu (대원수, roughly translated as Grand Marshal or Generalissimo)
CommandsSupreme Commander

Kim Jong-il, birth name Yuri Irsenovich Kim (according to the Soviet Union's records)[4][5][6][7] (Hangul: 김정일; Hanja: 金正日, 16 February 1941 – 17 December 2011) was the Supreme Leader of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) from the time of his father's death in 1994 until his own death in 2011. He was the son of Kim Il-Sŏng. Official North Korean propaganda said that Jong-il was born on Mount Paektu (a holy mountain in Korea); but most historians think that he was born near Chabarowsk in the Soviet Union. The North Korean laws made him permanent ruler of North Korea for life. He was sometimes referred to as the "Dear Leader", but this was not an official title. His official title was "Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea", "Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army" and "General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea". Many people in North Korea were imprisoned or killed for speaking out against the Kim regime. Almost everyone in North Korea wore a small pin with a picture of Kim Jŏng-Il or Kim Il-Sŏng on it.

The North Korean government told people of his death through the state media on 19 December 2011. It was said that he had died two days earlier of "physical and mental over-work".[8][9]

Kim Jong-il
Revised RomanizationGim Jeong(-)il
McCune–ReischauerKim Chŏngil

Early life[change | change source]

Kim Jong-il was born as Yuri Irsenovich Kim on 16 February 1941 or 1942 in either Korea or the USSR . He was the son of Kim Il-Sung is was responsible for the Korean War in 1950-1953 .

Leader of North Korea[change | change source]

Rising through the ranks[change | change source]

In 1974 Kim Il-sung designated Kim Jong-il as his successor, solidifying the leadership transition within North Korea. Kim Jong-il's rise to power was marked by his gradual ascent within the North Korean political hierarchy. He began his official political career in the mid-1970s, holding various positions in the ruling Workers' Party of Korea. Over the years, he consolidated his influence and took on key roles in military and propaganda departments. By 1994, he succeeded his father, Kim Il-sung, as the Supreme Leader of North Korea.

Rule (1994 – 2011)[change | change source]

Following Kim Il-Sung's death in 1994, Kim Jong-il became North Korea's 2nd Supreme Leader. During his rule, North Korea experienced a devastating famine which resulted in millions of deaths due to starvation. In the early 2000s, Kim oversaw the development of nuclear weapons with a series of missile tests by launching rockets of the coast of Japan and South Korea. His "Military-First" policy exacerbated economic challenges, leading to widespread hardship for the North Korean people and political repression.

Personal life[change | change source]

Kim Jong-il was a Stalinist. He believed in the North Korean Communist philosophy of Juche (self-reliance). He was afraid to travel on aeroplanes and traveled only on trains. He was well known for his love of movies and luxury goods, especially caviar and Hennessey brand cognac, even though North Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once gave Jong-il a present of a basketball signed by Michael Jordan when he visited North Korea because Jong-il was a fan of the National Basketball Association and of Michael Jordan.

Death[change | change source]

Staute of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-Sung

On the morning of 17 December 2011, at the age of 69 or 70, Jong-il died of a heart attack while traveling. His funeral was held on 28 December, and as a result, Kim Jong-un was then elected as the new leader of North Korea. On 13 April 2012, Kim Jong-il was made Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission and Eternal General Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea.

References[change | change source]

  1. "North Korea backs son after Kim Jong-Il death". Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 8 January 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  2. "North Korea: Kim Jong-un hailed 'Supreme Commander'". BBC News. 24 December 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  3. "Kim jong il death place - Google Search".
  4. Chung, Byoung-sun (22 August 2002), "Sergeyevna Remembers Kim Jong Il", The Chosun Ilbo, archived from the original on 11 March 2007, retrieved 19 February 2007
  5. Sheets, Lawrence (12 February 2004), "A Visit to Kim Jong Il's Russian Birthplace", National Public Radio, retrieved 19 February 2007
  6. "". CNN. Archived from the original on 2020-10-04. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
  7. "LIFE - TIME". Archived from the original on 2018-02-27. Retrieved 2019-02-11 – via
  8. "N Korean leader Kim Jong-il dies". BBC News. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  9. "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il, 69, Has Died". Salon. 19 December 2011. Archived from the original on 7 January 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2011.

Other websites[change | change source]