Kim Pyong-il

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Kim Pyong-il
Kim Pyong-il.jpg
North Korea Ambassador
to the Czech Republic
Assumed office
Supreme LeaderKim Jong-un
Preceded byPak Hyon Bo
North Korea Ambassador to Poland
In office
Supreme LeaderKim Jong-il
Kim Jong-un
Preceded byPaek Nam-sun
Succeeded byGeun Ri
Personal details
Born (1954-08-10) 10 August 1954 (age 64)
Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Political partyWorkers Party of Korea
ParentsKim Il-sung (father)
Kim Song-ae (mother)
Alma materKim Il-sung University
OccupationDPRK battalion commander
DPRK ambassador to the Czech Republic
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim Pyeong-il
McCune–ReischauerKim P'yŏng'il

Kim Pyong-il (Korean pronunciation: [kim.pʰjɔŋ.il]; born 10 August 1954) is the younger paternal half-brother of the former leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, and the only surviving son of former leader and president of North Korea 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 was 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 half-nephew Kim Jong-nam who gave frequent interviews with Japanese media, before he was assassinated in 2017.[5][9][10][11]

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 was just visiting his dying mother Kim Song-ae or preparing to observe the anniversary of his father's death.[12]

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.[13]

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, archived from the original on 2007-03-11, retrieved 2007-10-25
  9. ^ Ryall, Julian; Rothwell, James (14 February 2017). "Kim Jong-un's half-brother 'assassinated in Malaysia by female North Korean spies with poison needle'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  10. ^ McCurry, Justin (14 February 2017). "Kim Jong-un's half-brother reportedly killed in Malaysia". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Kim Jong-nam: Killing could be sign of 'brutal' N Korean regime". BBC News. 15 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Kim Jong-il's Brother 'Under House Arrest in Pyongyang'", Chosun Ilbo, 2011-07-03, retrieved 2011-07-03
  13. ^ "Kim Jong-il's half-brother appears to remain in Poland: official", Korea Herald, 2011-12-26, retrieved 2012-10-22

External links[edit]