Kim Jong-chul (political figure)

Kim Jong-chul (political figure)

Infobox Officeholder
honorific-prefix =
name = Kim Jong-chul
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caption = Kim Jong-chul outside the International school of Berne, Switzerland in 1994 as a teenager.
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birth_date = birth date and age|1981|9|25
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birthname = Kim Jong-chul
nationality = PRK
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Infobox Korean name
title=Kim Jong-chul

rr=Gim Jeong-cheol
mr=Kim Chŏngch'ŏl

Kim Jong-chul (born September 25, 1981) is a son of Kim Jong-il, who is the leader of North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), and the grandson of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-suk. Reports occasionally suggest he is being positioned to succeed his father as leader of North Korea. He is the older brother of Kim Jong-woon.


Kim Jong-chul is the son of Kim Jong-il by his female companion, Ko Young-hee. He was presumably born in Pyongyang and educated at an elite school for the children of leaders of the Korean Workers' Party (KWP), but he is also reported to have received part of his education at the International School of Berne, Switzerland (when in 1994 he was photographed outside the school as a curly-haired teenager). He attended the school under a pseudonym. In June 2006, Kim was videotaped attending an Eric Clapton concert (of whom Kim is supposedly a big fan) in Germany, and possibly attending the FIFA World Cup. His identity was confirmed by his Swiss school mates.

In 2007, Jong-chul was appointed deputy chief of a leadership division of the Workers' Party. This places him in a position as Kim Jong-il's heir apparent.

Until 2001, it was assumed that Kim Jong-il's eventual heir would be his eldest son, Kim Jong-nam, whose mother is Song Hye-rim. Then, in May 2001, Kim Jong-nam was arrested at New Tokyo International Airport (now Narita International Airport) in Narita, Japan, travelling on a forged passport, and was deported to the People's Republic of China. The incident caused Kim Jong-il to cancel a planned visit to China because of the embarrassment to both countries. Apparently as a result of this incident, Kim Jong-nam is reported to have fallen from his father's favour, and in late 2003 was reported to be living in Macau, China.

In February 2003, the Korean 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" was Koh Young-hee, and that the campaign was designed to promote Kim Jong-chul or possibly Kim Jong-nam, 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 suggested that Kim Jong-chul, despite his youth, had emerged as a serious rival, with Army backing, to Kim Jong-nam. Earlier, Kenji Fujimoto's bestselling memoir, "I Was Kim Jong Il's Cook", stated that Kim Jong-il believed Jong-chul was, "no good because he is like a little girl," and instead seemed to favor his youngest son, Kim Jong-woon (alternately spelled "Jong-un" or "Jong Woong").

Hwang Jang-yop, a former KWP secretary for international affairs who defected to the South in 1997, said in 2003: "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 has finished." (Although Kim Jong-il is still married to Kim Young-suk and has a daughter, Kim Sol-song, by her, Kim Young-suk has been out of favour for many years.)

Kim Jong-Chul is said to be an Eric Clapton fan. There was a North Korean Invitation for Eric Clapton and his band to play somewhere in 2009 in North Korea. [ [ Eric Clapton 'receives North Korean invite' - ] ]

See also

* List of Korea-related topics


Further reading

* Bradley Martin, "Under The Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty", St. Martins (October, 2004), hardcover, 868 pages, ISBN 0-312-32221-6
* Kenji Fujimoto. "I Was Kim Jong Il's Cook". []

External links

* [ "Eric Clapton receives North Korean invitation"] (, Feb. 26, 2008)
* [ "N.Korea's Kim Taps Second Son For Major Post - Report"]
* [ "NK Leader's 2nd Son Seen at Concert in Germany"]
* [ "Kim Jong Il's Second Son to Inherit Dictatorial Mantle"] (Digital Chosonilbo - Sept. 20, 2005)
* [ "Kim Jong Chol - Leadership Succession"] ( - April 27, 2005)
* [ Information on Kim (in Korean)]
* [ Information on Kim (in Korean)]

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