Kim Jong-un

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Person.png Kim Jong-un  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Donald Kim.jpg
A man in Seoul, South Korea, watches a TV screen showing President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un
Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
NationalityNorth Korean
Alma materKim Il-sung University, Kim Il-sung Military University
Parents • Kim Jong-il
• Ko Yong-hui
Children • Unidentified son
• Kim Ju-ae
• Unidentified child
SpouseRi Sol-ju

Kim Jong-un is Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly referred to as North Korea.

Kim Jong-un is the second child of former Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il (1941–2011) and his consort Ko Yong-hui,[1] and was officially declared the Supreme Leader following the state funeral of his father on 28 December 2011.[2]

Hydrogen bomb

On 3 September 2017, in a surprise announcement on state TV, North Korea said it had tested a powerful hydrogen bomb that could be loaded on to an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in a move that is expected to increase pressure on US President Donald Trump to defuse the growing nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula.

Pyongyang said the test, its sixth since 2006, had been a “complete success” and involved a two-stage thermonuclear weapon of unprecedented strength. There has been no independent verification of North Korea’s claims that it has achieved a key goal in its nuclear programme – the ability to miniaturise a warhead so that it can fit on a long-distance missile. The regime has earlier released footage of what it said was a hydrogen bomb that would be loaded on to a new ICBM.

The TV announcement, which was accompanied by patriotic music and images of North Korean landscape and military hardware, said the test had been ordered by the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.[3]

Swiss mediation

On 5 September 2017, Swiss President Doris Leuthard offered to mediate and establish a dialogue between North Korea, the US and South Korea. If Switzerland does become a mediator it would be a return to the country for Kim Jong-un, who spent part of his childhood in Bern studying at an international school under a pseudonym, Pak Un. He is believed to have attended Liebefeld-Steinhölzli school between 1998 and 2000 where he was registered as a child of DPRK embassy workers.

Former students, who did not realise his identity at the time, told of a funny boy who was competitive and loved playing basketball. Chef Joao Micaelo, who still lives in Bern and was friends with the boy he now believes is the North Korean leader, said he was a “normal guy” interested in sport, movies and computers:

“He was competitive at sports. He didn’t like to lose, like any of us. For him, basketball was everything. He played basketball, he had basketball games on his PlayStation. The whole world for him was just basketball all the time. One day, he did actually say to me, ‘My father is the Leader of North Korea’, but I just thought he was making it up. Then a few days later he said he showed me a photo of him with this guy who I now realise was Kim Jong-il. But I knew his father was a diplomat, so I thought it was just some photo from a government event they had attended. Otherwise, he hardly ever talked about his home life, although he did play the North Korean music a lot, in particular the national anthem. I can still remember it now.”[4]

Essential process of dialogue

In an interview with Mishal Husain on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme on 5 September 2017, former Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell asserted there was no military solution to the North Korean situation and that a sensible dialogue was needed.[5]

In his speech to the Labour Party conference on 27 September 2017, Jeremy Corbyn declared:

"We should stand firm for peaceful solutions to international crises. Let’s tone down the rhetoric, and back dialogue and negotiations to wind down the deeply dangerous confrontation over the Korean Peninsula. And I appeal to the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, to use the authority of his office and go to Washington and Pyongyang to kick start that essential process of dialogue."[6]


Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The Korea issue is now in the hands of the BRICSArticle3 September 2017Adam Garrie"Simon says: 'There's a 7½-hour flight from the BRICS summit in Xiamen, China to Pyongyang, North Korea so if Sergei Lavrov and the Chinese FM took that flight together to meet Kim Jong-un, it would have huge impact, and get the ball rolling on dialogue'."
Document:There is no military solution in North KoreaInterview5 September 2017Mishal HusainFormer Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell says the United States needs to bring the international community together more effectively over North Korea
Document:Washington Considers Military Action Against North Korea to Force Regime Changearticle7 March 2017Stephen GowansA history of Post-WWII US military threats against North Korea leading to the latest escalation in Spring 2017, with due weight given to the North Korean perspective
Document:Xi Jinping says a dark shadow looms over the world after years of peaceArticle3 September 2017Tom Phillips
Wang Zhen
Shen Dingli, an international relations expert from Shanghai, said Sunday’s nuclear test underlined the futility of both Washington and Beijing’s policies towards North Korea: "It's only a matter of time before Donald Trump realises he has no choice but to sit down with Kim Jong-un."


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