Kim Jong Il
(1942-)

Eldest son and successor of North Korean leader Kim Il Sung (qv) he was born near Khabarovsk, USSR, whilst his parents were engaging in a guerilla campaign against the Japanese.

He later attended Kim Il Sung University and majored in Political economy, graduating in 1964. He was believed to have studied in East Germany in an attempt to become a flyer, but upon his return home he worked closely with his father. He worked in the Organization and Guidance Department of the Communist Party and later managed the Ideological and Propaganda Department of the Party, where he was responsible for the production of many revolutionary plays extolling the anti-Japanese record of his father.

Kim gradually made his presence felt within the Party from the Seventh Plenum of the Fifth Central Committee in September 1973, leading the Three Revolution Team campaigns. During his training period under his father's tutelage in the 1970s, he was often referred to as the "Party Center," and he launched a number of campaigns to take over the daily operations of the Party, including the Three-Revolution Red Flag Movement. By the time of the Sixth Party Congress in October 1980, his control of the Party operation was complete. He was elected first secretary of the Central Committee, a ranking member of the Presidium of the Politbureau, a member of the Military Commission, and member of the Central Committee of the Party. When he was elected member of the Seventh Supreme People's Assembly in February 1982, it had become obvious that he was heir apparent to succeed his father as the supreme leader of North Korea.

Length of Rule - Eight years

Related Links

CIA factbook on North Korea

Out There News

Korean Central News Agency

Kimsoft: 'an independent, non-partisan' guide to all things Korean (ha, ha, ha, etc)

Books

The Korean War

Max Hastings

The Two Koreas

Don Oberdorfer

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