Can Kim Jong-un speak English and how old is the North Korea leader?

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KIM Jong-un and North Korea’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons has heightened global tensions and escalated the risk of military conflict with the US as well as its neighbours.

But very little is known about the dictator behind the military regime. Here is everything we do know.

Reuters

Kim is the second child of his predecessor as Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-il and his wife Kim Yong-hui[/caption]

Who is Kim Jong-un?

Kim is the second child of his predecessor as Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-il and his wife Kim Yong-hui.

North Korean authorities have stated that his birth date is January 8, 1982, but South Korean intelligence officials believe the actual date is a year later.

Chicago Bulls legend Dennis Rodman, who is a friend of the dictator, said he was born on January 8, 1983.

But records at the Swiss school he attended say he was born on July 5, 1984, making him 35 years old.

The North Korea dictator stands at 5ft7in (1.7m).

Kim attended an English language school near Bern before later going to the Liebefeld Steinhölzli school in Koniz using the name “Pak Un”.

And it was during his time in Europe where he is said to have developed his passions for cheese and basketball.

KCTV

Cuba’s Miguel Díaz-Canel and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un smile on their official portraits[/caption]

His old mates at the German-speaking Liebefeld-Steinhölzli public school say Kim was a “funny, popular boy.”

Like everybody else at the school, Mr Micaelo was introduced to Kim as “Pak Un” and told he was the son of a North Korean embassy official.

He said one day Kim told him who he really was, but he dismissed the story as fantasy.

In March Kim slipped into China for a “unofficial visit” to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping ahead of talks with US President Donald Trump.

Later, in May, he returned to China for another meeting with the Chinese ruler as part of a programme of diplomacy over North Korea’s nuclear programme ahead of the US summit.

LEAH MILLIS

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un attends the extended bilateral meeting at the Vietnam summit[/caption]

Can he speak English?

Some experts in South Korea reportedly believe he could be fluent in English, due to his Western education.

But according to the Telegraph, Kim’s grades were so bad he only passed English with the minimum.

According to Time at the historic summit with Donald Trump in Singapore last year Kim reportedly greeted Trump in English when the two sat down after an introductory handshake.

“Nice to meet you, Mr. President,” the North Korean leader said.

During the summit in Hanoi earlier this year, Kim appeared to react to Donald Trump’s comments in real time, ABC news reported.

He is, however, believed to be fluent in German and the South China Morning Post reported he even speaks Korean with a slight German lilt after his time in Switzerland.

EPA

Kim was ‘competitive but good natured’ in his schooldays[/caption]

Why did he visit Russia?

Kim travelled to the Russian city of Vladivostok for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The visit is aimed at mustering international support while nuclear talks with Washington are in limbo.

The armoured train carrying Kim – on his first official visit to Russia – pulled into the station on the quayside in Vladivostok, on the Pacific Ocean, a few hours after crossing from North Korea into Russia.

Kim sat down for talks with Putin at a university campus on an island just off Vladivostok, the first ever summit between the two leaders

Putin said he and Kim “exchanged opinions about what should be done to improve the situation.”

Kim noted that they had “discussed ways of peaceful settlement” and had “a very fruitful exchange.”

Who are Kim Jong-un’s family?

Kim Jong-un has two full siblings, an older brother named Kim Jong-chul and a younger sister named Kim Yo-jong.

He had an older half-brother named Kim Jong-nam who was assassinated in Kuala Lumpur Airport after being attacked by two women.

Kim Yo-jong is in the director of North Korea’s Propaganda and Agitation Department and is an alternate member of the Politburo, and travelled to Pyeonchang, South Korea, for the Winter Olympics in 2018.

On July 25, 2012, North Korean state media reported for the first time that Kim Jong-un was married to Ri Sol-ju.

Despot Kim has fathered three children with his wife – who is believed to have once visited South Korea as part of a cheerleading squad.

According to previous intelligence reports, Ri married the dictator in 2009 and gave birth to their first child the following year, with their second born in 2013.

Former NBA star Rodman, following his trip to the country in 2013, has been the only source of information about the couple’s second child – a baby girl named Kim Ju-ae.

Saying that he had held Kim’s daughter in his arms, Rodman described the North Korean leader as “a good dad” who has “a good family”.

South Korean intelligence reports have described Ri as coming from an ordinary family, with her father an academic and her mother a doctor.

First Lady Ri reportedly had the couple’s third child in February 2017 after vanishing from public view throughout most of her pregnancy.

Kim Jong-Un orders restart of nuclear reactor used for weapons-grade plutonium
Kim Jong-Un has often been pictured with a cigarette in his hand


When did he become North Korea’s Supreme Leader?

His half brother had been favourite to succeed Kim Jong-il before he fell out of favour after a failed attempt to visit Tokyo Disneyland on a fake passport.

He died on December 17, 2011, and it had been initially rumoured his brother in law Jang Song-thaek would act as regent as Kim Jong-un was too young.

Kim Jong-un was formally announced as his father’s successor on Boxing Day 2011.

Two years later Jang Song-thaek, Jong-un’s uncle, would be executed in one of Kim’s first purges.

Despite being Supreme Leader of the reclusive state he is technically not the head of it.

That honour belongs to his grandfather Kim Il-sung who was declared the “Eternal President” on his death in 1994.

Kim is said to have executed five aides after his summit with Donald Trump ended without a deal.

He is thought to have ordered a firing squad to kill Kim Hyok-Chol and four of his underlings amid claims they sold information to the Americans.

Kim’s bloody revenge on his Vietnam summit negotiating team was revealed by South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper in May 2019.


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