Tuesday, December 20, 2011

After Kim Jong Il: A Look at the Kim Family Tree

The heavy-jowled Kim Jong Un looks poised to succeed his father. But he was not always the most likely: TIME looks at those in the Kim clan who may have had (or still possess) designs on the Hermit Kingdom's top job.

Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/12/19/after-kim-jong-il-a-look-at-the-kim-family-tree/#ixzz1hA9syK3q

Kim Jong Nam

By ISHAAN THAROOR @ishaantharoor | December 19, 2011 6
The eldest son — Jong Nam’s mother was Song Hye Rim, a celebrity North Korean actress who was initially Kim Jong Il’s secret mistress — Jong Nam was groomed for succession until the awkward day in 2001 when he was seized by Japanese authorities for trying to enter the country on a forged Dominican Republic passport. Jong Nam allegedly told police there ahead of being deported to China that he simply wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland. The incident, coupled with the rumored defection of Jong Nam’s mother (she died in Russia in 2002), led to his estrangement from his father. Jong Nam would take up residence in the casino mecca of Macau and gain notoreity for his gambling habits and hard-drinking. In 2007, TIME and Global Spin’s Austin Ramzy and Ishaan Tharoor came across his house tucked away in a quiet gated community on the black-sanded island of Coloane. No one answered the door, but hung prominently by a window was a picture of a sunflower bending to the sun’s rays — a sign, even in reported exile, of Jong Nam’s filial duty to his now deceased father.

Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/12/19/after-kim-jong-il-a-look-at-the-kim-family-tree/#ixzz1hAA3hatN

Kim Jong Chol

By ISHAAN THAROOR @ishaantharoor | December 19, 2011 +
We only have snippets of information of Kim Jong Chol, the middle son in the family and the oldest born to Kim Jong Il’s favored, third mistress, Ko Young Hui. Jong Chol was given prominent positions in the Hermit Kingdom’s Orwellian-named Organization & Guidance and Propaganda & Agitation departments, a sign that he was being groomed for bigger things. But according to a memoir published by an anonymous Japanese chef who once served the regime, Kim Jong Il looked upon his middle son with distaste, considering him too “unmanly” and “effeminate” to take up his crown. He was allegedly spotted, as pictured above, attending an Eric Clapton concert in Singapore earlier this year.

Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/12/19/after-kim-jong-il-a-look-at-the-kim-family-tree/#ixzz1hAABSY4X

Kim Seol Song

By ISHAAN THAROOR @ishaantharoor | December 19, 2011 +
Kim Jong Il’s eldest child — a daughter — Seol Song lives in the shadow of her three male siblings. Her mother, a daughter of a high-ranking military official, was handpicked to be Kim Jong Il’s partner. But she would be shunted aside in later years. According to reports, Seol Song remained ever loyal to her father and supervised many of his official trips, accompanying him regularly.

Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/12/19/after-kim-jong-il-a-look-at-the-kim-family-tree/#ixzz1hAAHeOgp

Kim Kyong Hui

By ISHAAN THAROOR @ishaantharoor | December 19, 2011 +
Kim Jong Il’s only sister, known to be a cantankerous alcoholic in her 60s, was promoted alongside Kim Jong Un in 2010 to the rank of a four-star general, a top officer in the North Korean military. The move was seen as a measure to consolidate power and influence among the Kims, at a time when the heir apparent — Jong Un — seemed unready and weak. Depending on what account you listen to, it was also either a way of promoting Kyong Hui’s husband, the influential general Chang Sung Taek is, or mitigating against his own direct influence.

Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/12/19/after-kim-jong-il-a-look-at-the-kim-family-tree/#ixzz1hAANdxcu

Chang Sung Taek

By ISHAAN THAROOR @ishaantharoor | December 19, 2011 +
Kim Jong Il’s brother-in-law, Sung Taek is suspected by some as being the real force behind the regime, the secretive puppet master in the state most shrouded by secrets. It was thought that Sung Taek would play regent to Jong Un, allowing the third Kim to rule North Korea time to grow into his position. But, according to TIME’s Bill Powell, that may not be true. Instead, Sung Taek may be at the heart of an internal palace struggle, one which might have put him even at odds with his own wife, Kim Kyong Hui. After all, it’s reported that Kim Il Sung — father of Kim Jong Il and architect of the North Korean state — disapproved of Sung Taek’s marriage into the family.

Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/12/19/after-kim-jong-il-a-look-at-the-kim-family-tree/#ixzz1hAAVV3v7


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