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Who is Kim Jong Un? Ten things we know

The leader of North Korea died on Saturday of a heart attack. So, what do we know about Kim Jong Un, his heir apparent? That he likes Jean-Claude Van Damme and used to call himself Pak Choi…

File: October 2010. Kim Jong Un attends a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea.
File: October 2010. Kim Jong Un attends a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Image: Vincent Yu/AP/Press Association Images

NORTH KOREAN LEADER Kim Jong Il has died of a heart attack at the age of 69 – so who will succeed him?

North Korea has urged its 24 million people to rally behind heir-apparent Kim Jong Un, Jong Il’s son, after the death of the country’s supreme leader.

The death has made South Korea put its military on high alert, while President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak agreed by phone to closely monitor the events in the North.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said the country “must faithfully revere respectable comrade Kim Jong Un.”

While there was no immediate statement on the country’s official succession, the North said in a dispatch that the people and the military “have pledged to uphold the leadership of comrade Kim Jong Un” and called him a “great successor” of the country’s revolutionary philosophy of ‘juche’, or self reliance.

At the leadership of comrade Kim Jong Un, we have to change sadness to strength and courage and overcome today’s difficulties.

So, what do we know about Kim Jong Un?

  • Jong Il’s son is thought to be aged 28 or 29, with officials giving his date of birth as 8 January 1984
  • He is Western-educated, having studied in Switzerland, reportedly focusing on computer science at the International School of Berne
  • While at the school, he went under a psuedonym, reportedly ‘Pak Choi’ and told friends he was the son of a driver
  • His favourite actor? Jean-Claude Van Damme, according to the Washington Post
  • Due to his inexperience, he will likely not take control of the country for up to a year, a professor of North Korean Studies in Seoul told Bloomberg
  • Also known as Kim Jong-eun, he is believed to be the son of Ko Young hee, a consort of his father’s
  • Jong Un’s brother, Kim Jong Nam, was initially the favourite to suceed his father – but that all changed when tried to use a fake passport to enter Japan… in order to visit Tokyo Disneyland
  • He made his first official appearance alongside his father in October 2010 at a military parade at Pyongyang
  • In 2010, he was promoted to the top rank of four star general and vice-chairman of the Korean Worker’s Party
  • A blog featuring his father looking at things became a huge hit – and now Kim Jong Un Looking At Things could shed more light on the interests of this mysterious young leader

- Additional reporting AP

Read: North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il has died>

Read: North Korean heir apparent appears in public alongside Kim Jong Il>

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