Kim Jong-chul

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For the South Korean poet, see Kim Jong-chul (poet). For the field hockey player, see Kim Jung-chul.
Kim Jong-chul
Personal details
Born Kim Jong-chul
(1981-09-25) 25 September 1981 (age 33)
Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Nationality North Korean
Political party Workers' Party of Korea
Relations Kim Jong-il (father)
Ko Yong-hui (mother)
Kim Il-sung (grandfather)
Kim Jong-nam (brother)
Kim Jong-un (brother)
Residence Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl 김정철
Revised Romanization Gim Jeongcheol
McCune–Reischauer Kim Chŏngch'ŏl
This is a Korean name; the family name is Kim.

Kim Jong-chul (born 25 September 1981) is the middle son of Kim Jong-il, the former leader of North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea). His older half-brother is Kim Jong-nam. His younger brother is Kim Jong-un, now the leader of North Korea.

In 2007, Jong-chul was appointed deputy chief of a leadership division of the Workers' Party. However, on 15 January 2009, the South Korean News Agency reported that Kim Jong-il appointed his youngest son, Jong-un, to be his successor, passing over Jong-nam and Jong-chul.

These reports were supported in April 2009 when Kim Jong-un assumed a low-level position within the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, since Kim Jong-il was groomed by his own father, Kim Il-sung, in a similar way before becoming North Korean leader in 1994.[1]

DPRK leadership[edit]

Until 2001, it was assumed that Kim Jong-il's eventual heir would be his eldest son, Kim Jong-nam, whose mother was Song Hye-rim. But in May 2001, Kim Jong-nam was arrested at New Tokyo International Airport, Japan, travelling on a forged Dominican Republic passport.[2] He was held and then 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. As a result of this incident, Kim Jong-nam had fallen from favour. He was later reported to be living in Macau.

In February 2003, moves began to raise the profile of Kim Jong-chul. The Korean People's Army began a propaganda campaign using 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", Western analysts assume that the "Respected Mother" was Ko Yong-hui, mother of Kim Jong-chul and Kim Jong-un.[3] A similar campaign was launched in praise of Kim Jong-il's mother during the later years of Kim Il-sung's life.[3] This suggested that Kim Jong-chul, despite his youth, had emerged with Army backing to be a serious contender to succeed his father.

However, Kenji Fujimoto, Kim Jong-il's personal sushi chef, wrote in his memoir, I Was Kim Jong-il's Cook, that Kim Jong-il thought Jong-chul was "no good because he is like a little girl". Fujimoto believed Kim Jong-il favoured his youngest son, Kim Jong-un.[4]

On 1 June 2009, it was reported that Kim Jong-chul had been passed over as his younger brother, Kim Jong-un, was to succeed his father as the head of the Korean Workers' Party and de facto head of state of North Korea.[5]

Personal information[edit]

Kim Jong-chul was born in 1981. He is the middle son of Kim Jong-il and companion Ko Yong-hui, who died in 2004.

Kim Jong-chul was reportedly spotted in Singapore on 14 February 2011, where he was attending an Eric Clapton concert.[6] He was again apparently seen attending another Clapton concert, this time at the Royal Albert Hall in London in May 2015.[7]


  1. ^ Sang-hun, Choe (April 28, 2009). "Kim’s Son Joins North Korean Defense Panel". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  2. ^ "North Korea's secretive 'first family'". BBC. 15 February 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Global "Kim Jong Chol - Leadership Succession - Democratic People's Republic of Korea." Retrieved 2009 January 20.
  4. ^ "Kim Jong-chul", BBC, 30 September 2010
  5. ^ "N Korea 'names Kim's successor'". BBC. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  6. ^
  7. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • 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. [1]