Kim Jong-un: This is how the youngest son of the family became North Korea's leader

Kim Jong-un was the youngest son of the former ruler of North Korea. So how did he succeed him to become leader of the hermit kingdom? Here's everything we know.

Kim Jong-un: This is how the youngest son of the family became North Korea's leader
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Kim Jong-un: This is how the youngest son of the family became North Korea's leader

The Kim dynasty has ruled North Korea since 1948. The country's current dictator, Kim Jong-un, became ruler at a young age. Why? Kim Jong-un's father, former leader Kim Jong-il, had been struggling with health problems for a long time, suffered two debilitating strokes in 2008, and after that could hardly move his left arm and leg.

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When Kim Jong-il fell ill, he made sure 'that power would remain in the family', as reports. But why did he choose his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, to take over?

Kim Jong-un became leader upon his father's eventual death in 2011. Here's everything we know about his journey to Supreme Leader of North Korea.

Kim Jong-il's youngest son as successor

'That the choice falls on the youngest son Kim Jong-un is unusual', as Cicero states. This is because it is usually the eldest who are considered as successors to the throne. Thus, for a long time, Kim Jong-il's eldest son, Kim Jong-nam, was to become ruler of North Korea.

However, he lost his father's trust when he 'was caught with a false passport in Japan in 2001. He had, he defended himself, wanted to visit Disneyland in Tokyo undetected'. Cicero further reports:

The second-born, Kim Jong-chol, suffers from a disease that causes his body to produce too many female hormones - which is why the dictator's ex-chef, Japanese Kenji Fujimoto, says his father finds him 'too effeminate'.

Kim Jong-un had 'great inner strength... can drink a lot'

But the 'youngest son, on the other hand, has "great inner strength, is in splendid physical condition, can drink a lot and never admits defeat"', Fujimoto is reported to have said, according to Cicero. It seems, then, that it was no wonder Kim Jong-il chose Kim Jong-un to be his successor.

Not too much was known about the future successor at that time: He spent much of his youth at the International School of Berne (ISB) in Gümlingen, Switzerland, until 1998, where he was registered under the name 'Chol Pak'. When he was 15-years-old, he left school without graduating.

Read more: Kim Jong-un uses his sister to play this terrifying role in North Korea’s regime, according to expert

Kim Jong-un was 'shy and introverted'

Kim Jong-un is said to have been 'a shy and introverted young man', as recalled by one of his classmates, Ron Schwartz. The former school principal, David Gatley, described Kim Jong-il's youngest son at the time as follows:

He was not a show-off type and often intervened when two were fighting. He had many friends among the American diplomats' children.

Kim Jong-un first had to learn English as a language of instruction, but 'mastered it quite well after a short time', and he also learned German and French at the Swiss school.

Kim Jong-un went to school with diplomat children

No one seems to have been surprised that the young Kim Jong-un was picked up every day by a car from the embassy, because about half of the students came from diplomatic families. Cicero said:

It was believed that Chol Pak was the son of the embassy driver. Swiss authorities were also unaware of the presence of Kim Jong-il's youngest offspring.

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The transformation of Kim Jong-un into a ruler

Since Kim left the ISB, the then, according to Cicero, 'athletic young man' has obviously changed. In the meantime, he has gained weight, is said to be a heavy smoker and has been 'struggling with health problems for some time', according to ntv.

According to experts cited by Cicero, Kim Jong-un was allegedly chosen in 2011 because this inexperienced, young successor could not pose a threat to the 'real ruler of North Korea at the time, Kim Jong-il's brother-in-law Jang Song-taek, who had a solid power base among civilian and military forces'.

However, recent reports speculate that Kim Jong-un's regime may be in jeopardy.

This article has been translated from Gentside DE.

Sources used: 'Dynastie der Diktatoren: Der Kim-Clan'

Cicero: 'Der Diktator spricht Deutsch'

ntv: 'Deutlich schlanker: Ist Kim Jong Un ernsthaft krank?'

Kim Jong-un is using this bizarre method in North Korea to ensure 'survival of the Kim family' Kim Jong-un is using this bizarre method in North Korea to ensure 'survival of the Kim family'