Kim Pyong-il

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Kim.
Kim Pyong-il
Kim Pyong-il.jpg
Born (1954-08-10) 10 August 1954 (age 60)
Pyongyang, North Korea (?)
Alma mater Kim Il-sung University
Occupation DPRK battalion commander
Current DPRK ambassador to Poland
Political party
Workers Party of Korea
Spouse(s) unknown
Children Kim Eun-song (daughter)
Kim In-kang (son)
Relatives Kim Il-sung (father)
Kim Song-ae (mother)
Kim Jong-il (older half-brother)
Kim Kyong-hui (older half-sister)
Kim Yong-il (younger brother)
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl 김평일
Hancha 金平一
Revised Romanization Gim Pyeong-il
McCune–Reischauer Kim P'yŏng'il

Kim Pyong-il (born 10 August 1954) is the younger paternal half-brother of the former leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, and the son of former leader Kim Il-sung.[1] He is the current ambassador of North Korea to the Czech Republic.

Family background and early life[edit]

Kim was born to Kim Il-sung and Kim Song-ae, Kim Il-sung's former secretary. Kim had one younger brother, Yong-il,[2] and one older half-sister, Kyong-hui, who would go on to marry senior official Chang Sung-taek.[3] He was named after another son with the same name, who was born in Vyatskoye in 1944; that son, also known as Shura Kim, allegedly drowned in Pyongyang in 1947.[4] He graduated from Kim Il-sung University with a major in economics, and later attended the Kim Il-sung National War College, following which he was appointed a battalion commander.[1]

Kim Pyong-il's rivalry with half-brother Kim Jong-il goes back to the 1970s. In those days, Kim Pyong-il was known as a womaniser who threw raucous parties; sometimes, attendees at these parties would shout, "Long live Kim Pyong-il!". Kim Jong-il knew that this could be portrayed as a threat to the cult of personality surrounding their father Kim Il-sung, and reported the matter; Kim Il-sung was reportedly infuriated, and thus Kim Pyong-il fell out of favour with his father while Kim Jong-il strengthened his position.[5]

Diplomatic career[edit]

In 1979, Kim began a series of diplomatic postings to several countries in Europe so that he could not influence politics in his home country. His first overseas assignment was in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.[1] He was promoted to the position of ambassador to the People's Republic of Hungary in 1988, but was transferred to the People's Republic of Bulgaria in response to Hungary's opening of diplomatic relations with South Korea in 1989. This was followed by a posting in Finland.[6][7]

In 1998, after North Korea closed its embassy in Finland to save money and prevent defections, Kim was posted to Poland. His ambassadorship was initially suggested to be in limbo, as nine months after his posting he had yet to formally present his credentials to the Polish president.[8] However, he remained as ambassador in Poland, and his daughter Kim Eun-song and son Kim In-kang went on to attend university in Poland.[1] He is a rare sight in Warsaw's diplomatic community, only occasionally appearing at functions held by the Algerian, Russian and Syrian embassies.[5]

In 2015, he was transferred to the Czech Republic.

Relations with Pyongyang[edit]

Kim Pyong-il continues to be considered a threat to the North Korean government due to his resemblance to his father Kim Il-sung. Reports claim he is under watch by both North and South Korean intelligence. However, he has kept a low profile, in contrast to his nephew Kim Jong-nam who gives frequent interviews with Japanese media.[5] In July 2011, Kim was reported by South Korean media to be back in Pyongyang for a visit. Some sources claimed he was under house arrest there since May, though others speculate he is just visiting his dying mother Kim Song-ae or preparing to observe the anniversary of his father's death.[9] In December 2011, South Korean officials said Kim Pyong-il was in Poland and would not attend Kim Jong-il's funeral. Kim Pyong-il and Kim Song-ae attended the funeral of Kim Il-sung in 1994, but North Korean television broadcasts deleted their images.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Kim, Song-A (2007-05-09), "Photos of Kim Jong Il’s Brother, Kim Pyong Il and Recent Visits", Daily NK, retrieved 2007-10-25 
  2. ^ Not the same person as Kim Yong-il, Premier of the DPRK Cabinet from April 2007 to June 2010.
  3. ^ "Photos Surface of Kim Jong-il's Relatives in Europe", Chosun Ilbo, 2007-05-10, archived from the original on 2007-10-16, retrieved 2007-10-26 
  4. ^ Lintner, Bertil (2003-07-10), "North Korea: Myth Making Dynastic Lies And Secrets", Far Eastern Economic Review, retrieved 2007-10-25 
  5. ^ a b c Walker, Shaun (2012-03-12), "Left out in the cold: the man who would be Kim", The Independent, retrieved 2012-10-22 
  6. ^ Sano, Yoel (2004-02-14), "Happy Birthday, Dear Leader - who's next in line?", Asia Times, retrieved 2007-10-25 
  7. ^ Sterngold, James (1990-06-02), "Evolution in Europe; Stunned North Korea Warns Soviets on Meeting With Seoul Leader", The New York Times, retrieved 2007-10-22 
  8. ^ "Kim Jon Il's (sic) half brother's ambassadorship in limbo", Kyōdō News, 1998-10-19, retrieved 2007-10-25 [dead link]
  9. ^ "Kim Jong-il's Brother 'Under House Arrest in Pyongyang'", Chosun Ilbo, 2011-07-03, retrieved 2011-07-03 
  10. ^ "Kim Jong-il's half-brother appears to remain in Poland: official", Korea Herald, 2011-12-26, retrieved 2012-10-22 

External links[edit]

Select[α] family tree of North Korea's ruling[β] Kim family[γ][δ]
Kim Bo-hyon
Kim Hyong-jik
Kang Pan-sok
Kim Jong-suk
Kim Il-sung
Kim Sung-ae
Kim Yong-ju
Kim Young-sook
Song Hye-rim
Kim Jong-il
Ko Yong-hui
Kim Ok
Kim Kyong-hui
Jang Sung-taek
Kim Pyong-il
Kim Sul-song
Kim Jong-nam
Kim Jong-chul
Kim Jong-un
Ri Sol-ju
c. 1986
Kim Yo-jong
Kim Han-sol
Kim Ju-ae
c. 2012[ε]
  1. ^ To keep the tree of manageable size, it omits some members, e. g., brothers and sisters of Kim Jong-il.
  2. ^ Names of Supreme Leaders of the DPRK (and the name of the article being viewed if any) are in bold font.
  3. ^ Korean names often have a variety of transliterations into English, which can be confusing. For example, "Kim Jong-chul" may also be written "Gim Jeong-cheol" or "Kim Jŏng-ch'ŏl" among many other variations. See Korean romanization for more information.
  4. ^ Huss, Kan; Frost, Clay. "North Korea’s First Family: Mapping the personal and political drama of the Kim clan". Retrieved 20 January 2013.  (Confirms many, but not all, of the birth and death years. See individual articles for more references.)
  5. ^ a b c d Official biographies of Kim Jong-suk and Kim Jong-il give birth years of 1917 and 1942, respectively, while Kim Jong-un's birth year may actually be 1984. Kim Ju-ae may have been born in late 2012 or early 2013.