The real reason Kim Jong-un's mansion is falling apart

The North Korean leader’s mansion which he inherited from his father is now posing a serious threat to the family’s safety.

Kim Jong-un house
© Mikhail Svetlov / GETTY IMAGES
Kim Jong-un house

Kim Jong-un inherited this beautiful mansion from his father, Kim Jong-il. However, at first the house was not meant to belong to Kim Jong-un as he was never really meant to rule. Indeed, at some point Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-il’s first son, was the assumed heir but he fell out of favour. He was assassinated in 2017 by poison at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport.

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The house is now reported to be falling apart with satellite pictures showing a rusty roof and nature taking over. But it wasn’t always this way…

An abandoned luxurious house

The house is reported to have been a magnificent place of residence. Indeed, it wasn’t just a mansion, it was surrounded by an incredible amount of land. On the grounds you could find a guard post, the mansion, a supply building and a waterfall.

The Daily Star reports what Michael Madden, founder of North Korea Leadership Watch has to say about the property:

It had many of the accoutrements that the leader required at home – there was satellite television with channels from South Korea, Japan, the UK and the US.
There was a small movie theatre in which people could screen any of the tens of thousands of films Kim Jong-il had in his personal movie collection
Chefs and cooks would be on call 24 hours a day, there was also an indoor pool and recreation facilities. The residence had amazing views of the Taedong River on one side and the surrounding forest on the other
Deer and other woodland animals lived on the grounds, brought in from other parts of North Korea. One of the key features of this compound is the artificial waterfall
It had a nice fish pond in front it and the waterfall was made from rocks from prominent Korean mountains – in this case, from Mount Paektu and Mount Kumgang

A house with a complicated history

With all of these amazing features, why would Kim Jung-un not take care of the house? The answer lies within complicated family affairs. Kim Jung-un’s father is reported to be a polygamist. He had different households for each of his partners.

This mansion was not for Kim Jung-un’s family but for Kim Jong-nam’s aunt, maternal grandparents and cousins. It is important to know that Kim Jong-il’s polygamy wasn’t a peaceful arrangement. Each family held contempt for the others.

Madden explains:

Imagine this from Kim Jong-un's perspective – this is a residence for your father’s other family. These families also viewed each with a high degree of disdain.
Jong-nam's maternal aunt looked down on Kim Jong-un’s mother, Ko Yong-hui, and viewed her as a manipulative schemer. They called her the ‘button nose’. There was little evidence of any enmity between the sons themselves – to Kim Jong-un, his half-brother was more of an inconvenience and annoyance

According to the satellite images, repairs to the house were done up until 2019 and the house appears to now be officially abandoned.

Read more:

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

Kim Jong-un’s wife and sister are allegedly feuding about who will be his successor


Daily Star: Kim Jong-un’s mansion is facing collapse as family abandons rusting palace

NBC News: North Korea's Kim Jong Un: What to Know About the Hermit Kingdom's Dictator

The Guardian: How North Korea got away with the assassination of Kim Jong-nam

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