How Old Is Kim Jong Un and How Long Has He Been In Power?

There is no reason you shouldn’t know who Kim Jong-un is unless you’ve been in a coma for the past decade. The man is a renowned world leader who serves as the Supreme Commander of North Korea. He took over the reins of ruling the nation following the death of its former ruler Kim Jong-il, his father and the second leader of North Korea. He holds the distinction of being the youngest head of government in the world and one of the last dictators of inherited absolute monarchies left in the world. His grandfather, Kim II Sung was the founder as well as the first leader of the country, ruling from 1948 to 1994. Considering that the dictator is one of the most notorious and powerful people in the world, very little is known about him including Kim Jong-un’s age.

Although a number of positive reforms have been attributed to his regime, Kim Jong-un has often faced media scrutiny and criticism due to his many human rights violations and the violent methods he employs to suppress political opposition and dissent amongst the ruling class and citizens. He is also credited with the development of North Korea’s nuclear missile program, which has raised a lot of objections and worries in the international community. Here is everything you need to know about the North Korean despot.

Kim Jung-un’s Age and Background Details

Like many prominent political figures in North Korea, the Supreme Leader’s early life is shrouded in mystery. As a result, there are many contrasting details about his life, making it hard to determine what the truth is. Kim Jong-un’s age is one highly contested topic.

According to North Korean authorities, he was born on January 8, 1982. However, South Korean intelligence officers posit that he was actually born a year later on January 8, 1982. On the other hand, the records at the Swiss school he attended lists his date of birth as July 5, 1984. Depending on what date you choose to believe, Kim Jong-un’s age as of 2019 would be 37, 36, or 35 years.

He attended a host of private schools in Switzerland using fake names and IDs including the Liebefeld Steinholzi School in Kiniz where he remained until 2000 before disappearing in the middle of the school term. Kim Jong-un spent 2002-2007 studying at Kim II-sung University and Kim II-sung Military University in Pyongyang.

Can He Speak English?

Thanks to the government’s control over all forms of media and communication, it is very hard to know a lot about the communist ruler beyond what they let spill. Apart from Kim Jong-un’s age, his level of proficiency in the English language has also been a bone of contention.

South Korean experts believe that his western education could have made him fluent in English, while some sources report that his grades in the language back in school were terrible.

News reports from international conferences he has attended in recent years, claims that he seems to have a good grasp on English due to how quickly he reacted to statements made by English-speaking leaders. However, Kim Jong-un is fluent in German in addition to Korean.

Kim Jung-un’s Political Power

Kim Jong-un and China's President Xi Jinping
Kim Jong-un and China’s President Xi Jinping: Image Source

In the beginning, Kim Jong-un’s half brother Kim Jong-nam was the favored successor to the seat of power. However, his suitability for the role was brought into question after he was caught trying to enter Japan using a fake passport.

By 2009, it started becoming clear that Kim Jong-il had picked Kim Jong-un to become Supreme Leader after him. In April of that year, he was given a position as chairman of the National Defense Commission, the most powerful bureaucratic office in the state at the time.

The following year, he added more titles to his rank including being named four-star general of the Army without any prior military experience and head of the State Security Department. Soon after his father’s passing on 17th December 2011, Kim Jong-un was declared the Supreme Leader of North Korea, making him the head of government and military.

As of 2019, Kim Jong-un has been in power for almost 8 years. Since then, he has continued in the dictatorial fashion established by his grandfather and father. He has ordered the execution of hundreds of people which he believed to be plotting against him including his uncle Jang Song-thaek.

In spite of the backlash he has faced because of the brutality of his regime and his crimes against humanity, Kim Jong-un has continued to defy international treaties, rule arbitrarily, and govern the nation of North Korea however he deems fit.


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