Kim Jong-il (Korean pronunciation: [ɡ̊imd͜zɔŋil]; 16 February 1941/1942 – 17 December 2011) was the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly referred to as North Korea, from 1994 to 2011. By the early 1980s Kim had become the heir apparent for the leadership of the country and assumed important posts in the party and army organs. He succeeded his father and founder of the DPRK, Kim Il-sung, following the elder Kim’s death in 1994. Kim Jong-il was the General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), Chairman of the National Defence Commission (NDC) of North Korea, and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), the fourth-largest standing army in the world. Kim’s leadership is thought to have been even more dictatorial than his father’s.
Quick facts: Kim Jong-il 김정일, 2nd Supreme Leader of North Korea …

Kim Jong-il

김정일

Kim Jong il Portrait.jpg

2nd Supreme Leader of North Korea

In office

8 July 1994 – 17 December 2011[1]

Premier Hong Song-nam

Pak Pong-ju

Kim Yong-il

Choe Yong-rim

Preceded by Kim Il-sung

Succeeded by Kim Jong-un

General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea

In office

8 October 1997 – 17 December 2011

Preceded by Kim Il-sung

Succeeded by Position abolished

(proclaimed Eternal Party General Secretary after his death)

Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea

In office

8 October 1997 – 17 December 2011

Deputy Kim Jong-un

Ri Yong-ho

Preceded by Kim Il-sung

Succeeded by Kim Jong-un

Deputy to the

7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Supreme People’s Assembly

In office

5 April 1982 – 17 December 2011

Constituency 575th (1990-1998), 666th (1998-2003), 649th (2003-2009), 333rd (2009-2011)

Head of the Organization and Guidance Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea

In office

February 1974 – 17 December 2011

Leader Kim Il-sung

Preceded by Kim Yong-ju

Succeeded by Unknown

Personal details

Born Yuri Irsenovich Kim

16 February 1941

Vyatskoye, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (Soviet records)

16 February 1942

Baekdu Mountain, Japanese Korea (North Korean biography)[a]

Died 17 December 2011 (aged 69–70)

Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Resting place Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Political party Workers’ Party of Korea

Spouse(s) Kim Young-sook (1974–2011)

Domestic partner Song Hye-rim (1968–2002)

Ko Young-hee (1977–2004)

Kim Ok (2004–2011)

Children Kim Sul-song

Kim Jong-nam

Kim Jong-chul

Kim Jong-un

Kim Yo-jong[2]

Alma mater Mangyongdae Revolutionary School

Kim Il-sung University

Signature 

Military service

Allegiance DPR Korea

Service/branch Korean People’s Army

Years of service 1991–2011

Rank Generalissimo rank insignia (North Korea).svg Taewonsu (대원수, roughly translated as Grand Marshal or Generalissimo)

Commands Supreme Commander

^ North Korean biographies, which claim his birth date as 16 February 1942, are generally not considered to be factually reliable. See below.

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Quick facts: Chosŏn’gŭl, Hancha …

During Kim’s regime the country suffered from famine, partially due to economic mismanagement, and had a poor human rights record. Kim involved his country in state terrorism and strengthened the role of the military by his Songun, or “military-first”, politics. Kim’s rule also saw tentative economic reforms, including the opening of the Kaesong Industrial Park in 2003.
In April 2009, North Korea’s constitution was amended to officially refer to him (and his later successors) as the “Supreme Leader of the DPRK”.[3] The most common colloquial title given to him during his reign was “The Dear Leader” to distinguish him from his father Kim Il-sung, “The Great Leader”. Following Kim’s failure to appear at important public events in 2008, foreign observers assumed that Kim had either fallen seriously ill or died. On 19 December 2011, the North Korean government announced that he had died two days earlier,[4] whereupon his third son, Kim Jong-un, was promoted to a senior position in the ruling WPK and succeeded him.[5] After his death, he was designated as the “Eternal General Secretary” of the WPK and the “Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission”, in keeping with the tradition of establishing eternal posts for the dead members of the Kim dynasty.

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