Moon Jae-in is a South Korean politician serving as the 19th and current President of South Korea since 2017. He was elected after the impeachment of Park Geun-hye as the candidate of the Democratic Party. A former student activist, human rights lawyer and chief of staff to then-President Roh Moo-hyun, Moon served as Leader of Democratic Party and a member of the 19th National Assembly, he was a candidate for the former Democratic United Party in the 2012 presidential election in which he lost narrowly to Park Geun-hye. As President, Moon Jae-in has met with North Korean chairman Kim Jong-un at the April 2018 inter-Korean summit, May 2018 inter-Korean summit, September 2018 inter-Korean summit. Born in Geoje, South Korea, during the last year of the Korean War, Moon Jae-in was the second child and oldest son among five children of father Moon Yong-hyung and mother Kang Han-ok, his parents were refugees from South Hamgyeong Province, North Korea, who fled their native city of Hungnam during the Hungnam evacuation during Korean War.
His family settled in Busan. Since his father did not want to become a government employee, as he had been in North Korea, his father started a business selling socks, which left his family in great debt, his mother became the breadwinner by selling clothes received from relief organisations and delivering briquettes. Moon's family became attached to the Catholic Church when his mother went to the local cathedral to receive whole milk powder. Moon once said in an interview that he didn't know how to ride a bike since his family was too poor to afford a bike or monthly school tuition. Moon entered Kyungnam High School at the top of his class, he was accepted to study law at Kyung Hee University with a full scholarship. There he met Kim Jung-sook. After he organized a student protest against the Yushin Constitution, he was arrested, convicted and expelled from the university, he was conscripted into the military and assigned to the South Korean special forces, where he participated in "Operation Paul Bunyan" during the Axe murder incident in Panmunjom.
After his discharge, the death of his father influenced him to decide to take the bar exam. He went into Daeheungsa, the Buddhist temple, to study for the exam and passed the first of two rounds in 1979. In 1980 he returned to school to complete his remaining year of studies; that year, he passed the second round and was admitted to the Judicial Research and Training Institute. He graduated second in his class but was not admitted to become a judge or government prosecutor due to his history of activism against the Yushin dictatorship under Park Chung-hee's rule as a student. Moon chose to go into private practice instead. After becoming a lawyer, he worked with future President Roh Moo-hyun in the 1980s. Along with Roh, he took cases involving human rights and civil rights issues defending labor rights activists and students persecuted for opposing Korea's military dictatorship, they remained friends up until Roh's suicide in 2009. He was a founding member of the progressive South Korean newspaper, The Hankyoreh, in 1988.
Yielding to Roh's insistence, Moon became Roh's campaign manager during his presidential bid. After Roh's victory, Moon became Roh's chief presidential secretary and close aide holding various roles in a presidential administration. Moon held roles as Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs, Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Society, Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs, Chief Presidential Secretary from 2003-2008. Moon was the chairperson of the Promotion of the 2nd North-South Korea Summit. Despite his earlier indifference, he began to get involved in politics, he published. His popularity had been rising steady against the opponent in the presidential race, Park Geun-hye. For instance, in a February 2012 poll, Moon rivaled Park in popularity. Moon managed to capitalize on the conservatives' decline in popularity amid a series of corruption scandals; as one pundit said, "Moon had managed to portray himself as a moderate and rational leader who has the backing of the younger generation".
In 2012, Moon entered a bid for a seat in the National Assembly in the 19th legislative election. Moon won a seat in the Sasang District of Busan on 11 April 2012 as a member of the Democratic United Party with 55% of the vote. On 16 September 2012, Moon received the presidential nomination for the Democratic United Party, he ran for the 2012 presidential election as the Democratic United Party's candidate in a three-way race against Park Geun-hye, the incumbent ruling party's candidate and daughter of the late president Park Chung-hee, as well as independent software mogul Ahn Cheol-soo. Ahn dropped out of the race and endorsed Moon after polls showed a most definitive loss for both candidates were there to be a three-way race against Park. Moon went on to lose the election. Moon was elected as the leader of New Politics Alliance for Democracy on 2 February 2015. Prior to his election, Moon and NPAD party leader and 2012 presidential candidate rival Ahn Cheol-soo had many public disputes over the direction of the party.
Moon's official role led Ahn Cheol-soo to form the centrist People's Party. Ahn's departure and Moon's new tenure as party leader led to renaming the liberal, NPAD Party as the new Democratic Party. During his leadership, Moon scouted several politically prominent people, including police studies/criminology expert Pyo Chang-won, political critic Lee Chul-hee, former president Park's secretary Cho Ung-chun to prepare f
North Korea the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, with Pyongyang the capital and the largest city in the country. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo, one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia, under Gwanggaeto the Great. To the north and northwest, the country is bordered by China and by Russia along the Amnok and Tumen rivers. North Korea, like its southern counterpart, claims to be the legitimate government of the entire peninsula and adjacent islands. In 1910, Korea was annexed by Imperial Japan. After the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, Korea was divided into two zones, with the north occupied by the Soviet Union and the south occupied by the United States. Negotiations on reunification failed, in 1948, separate governments were formed: the socialist Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north, the capitalist Republic of Korea in the south.
An invasion initiated by North Korea led to the Korean War. The Korean Armistice Agreement brought about a ceasefire. North Korea describes itself as a "self-reliant" socialist state, formally holds elections, though said elections have been described by outside observers as sham elections. Outside observers generally view North Korea as a Stalinist totalitarian dictatorship noting the elaborate cult of personality around Kim Il-sung and his family; the Workers' Party of Korea, led by a member of the ruling family, holds power in the state and leads the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland of which all political officers are required to be members. Juche, an ideology of national self-reliance, was introduced into the constitution in 1972; the means of production are owned by the state through state-run enterprises and collectivized farms. Most services such as healthcare, education and food production are subsidized or state-funded. From 1994 to 1998, North Korea suffered a famine that resulted in the deaths of between 240,000 and 420,000 people, the population continues to suffer malnutrition.
North Korea follows "military-first" policy. It is the country with the highest number of military and paramilitary personnel, with a total of 9,495,000 active and paramilitary personnel, or 37% of its population, its active duty army of 1.21 million is the fourth largest in the world, after China, the United States and India. It possesses nuclear weapons; the UN inquiry into human rights in North Korea concluded that, "The gravity and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world". The North Korean regime denies most allegations, accusing international organizations of fabricating human rights abuses as part of a smear campaign with the covert intention of undermining the state, although they admit that there are human rights issues relating to living conditions which the regime is attempting to correct. In addition to being a member of the United Nations since 1991, the sovereign state is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, G77 and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
The name Korea derives from the name Goryeo. The name Goryeo itself was first used by the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo in the 5th century as a shortened form of its name; the 10th-century kingdom of Goryeo succeeded Goguryeo, thus inherited its name, pronounced by visiting Persian merchants as "Korea". The modern spelling of Korea first appeared in the late 17th century in the travel writings of the Dutch East India Company's Hendrick Hamel. After the division of the country into North and South Korea, the two sides used different terms to refer to Korea: Chosun or Joseon in North Korea, Hanguk in South Korea. In 1948, North Korea adopted Democratic People's Republic of Korea as its new legal name. In the wider world, because the government controls the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, it is called North Korea to distinguish it from South Korea, called the Republic of Korea in English. Both governments consider themselves to be the legitimate government of the whole of Korea. For this reason, the people do not consider themselves as'North Koreans' but as Koreans in the same divided country as their compatriots in the South and foreign visitors are discouraged from using the former term.
After the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War, Korea was occupied by Japan from 1910 to 1945. Japan tried to suppress Korean traditions and culture and ran the economy for its own benefit. Korean resistance groups known as Dongnipgun operated along the Sino-Korean border, fighting guerrilla warfare against Japanese forces; some of them took part in parts of South East Asia. One of the guerrilla leaders was the communist Kim Il-sung, who became the first leader of North Korea. At the end of World War II in 1945, the Korean Peninsula was divided into two zones along the 38th parallel, with the northern half of the peninsula occupied by the Soviet Union and the southern half by the United States; the drawing of the division was assigned to two American officers, diplomat Dean Rusk and Army officer Charles Bone
The Panmunjom Declaration for Peace and Unification of the Korean Peninsula was adopted between the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, on April 27, 2018, during the 2018 inter-Korean Summit on the South Korean side of the Peace House in the Joint Security Area. According to the declaration, the governments of North Korea and South Korea agreed to cooperate on ending the Korean War and the Korean conflict, beginning a new era of peace and sharing commitments in ending divisions and confrontation by approaching a new era of national reconciliation and prosperity and improvements to inter-Korean communication and relations; this declaration includes the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The full text of Panmunjom Declaration article is located in Panmunjom Declaration. During this momentous period of historical transformation on the Korean Peninsula, reflecting the enduring aspiration of the Korean people for peace and reunification, President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea and Chairman Kim Jong-un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea held an Inter-Korean Summit Meeting at the'Peace House' at Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.
The two leaders solemnly declared before the 80 million Korean people and the whole world that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun. 1. Promote common prosperity and reunification of Korea through dramatic improvement and development of inter-Korean relations Continue high-level working-level talks for the full implementation and implementation of the agreement Establishment of Joint Liaison Office in Gaeseong between South and North Korea Multilateral cooperation and exchange Inter-Korean Red Cross talks and reunions of separated-families on 15 August 2018 Connecting and modernizing roads with Donghae and Gyeongui railways2. Elimination of military tension and substantial elimination of war risk Cease all hostile acts Designed as a peace zone in the western part of the west coast Establishment of military mutual guarantee measures through high-rank military-level talks3. Establishing a permanent and peaceful Korean peninsula peace regime Inviolable agreement Stepwise disarmament In celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement in 2018, South and North Korea co-operate with the US and China to establish a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula after ending the 1953 Korean War.
Finalise the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula The two leaders agreed, through regular meetings and direct telephone conversations, to hold frequent and candid discussions on issues vital to the nation, to strengthen mutual trust and to jointly endeavor to strengthen the positive momentum towards continuous advancement of inter-Korean relations as well as peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula. In this context, President Moon Jae-in agreed to visit Pyongyang this fall. Korean Armistice Agreement inter-Korean summit May 2018 inter-Korean summit 2018 North Korea–United States summit Korean reunification Panmunjom Declaration for Peace and Unification of the Korean Peninsula, April 27, 2018
Pyongyang, P'yŏngyang or Pyeongyang, is the capital and largest city of North Korea. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River about 109 kilometres upstream from its mouth on the Yellow Sea. According to the 2008 population census, it has a population of 3,255,288; the city was split from the South Pyongan province in 1946. It is administered as a directly-administered city with equal status to provinces, the same as special cities in South Korea, including Seoul; the city's other historic names include Kisong, Rakrang, Sŏgyong, Hogyong and Heijō. There are several variants. During the early 20th century, Pyongyang came to be known among missionaries as being the "Jerusalem of the East", due to its historical status as a stronghold of Christianity, namely Protestantism during the Pyongyang revival of 1907. After Kim Il-sung's death in 1994, some members of Kim Jong-il's faction proposed changing the name of Pyongyang to "Kim Il-sung City", but others suggested that North Korea should begin calling Seoul "Kim Il-sung City" instead and grant Pyongyang the moniker "Kim Jong-il City", in the end neither proposal was implemented.
The Russian transliteration Пхёнья́н was adapted in Romanian as Phenian. In Poland the hyperforeignist pronunciation /ˈfɛɲ.jan/ is commoner than the original /ˈpxɛɲ.jan/. In 1955, archaeologists excavated evidence of prehistoric occupation in a large ancient village in the Pyongyang area, called Kŭmtan-ni, dating to the Jeulmun and Mumun pottery periods. North Koreans associate Pyongyang with the mythological city of "Asadal", or Wanggeom-seong, the first second millennium BC capital of Gojoseon according to Korean historiographies beginning with the 13th-century Samgungnyusa. Historians deny this claim because earlier Chinese historiographical works such as the Guanzi, Classic of Mountains and Seas, Records of the Grand Historian, Records of the Three Kingdoms, mention a much "Joseon"; the connection between the two therefore may have been asserted by North Korea for the use of propaganda. Pyongyang became a major city in old Joseon. Korean mythology asserts that Pyongyang was founded in 1122 BC on the site of the capital of the legendary king Dangun.
Wanggeom-seong, in the location of Pyongyang, became the capital of Gojoseon from 194 to 108 BC. It fell in the Han conquest of Gojoseon in 108 BC. Emperor Wu of Han ordered four commanderies be set up, with Lelang Commandery in the center and its capital established as 樂浪. Several archaeological findings from the Eastern Han period in the Pyeongyang area seems to suggest that Han forces launched brief incursions around these parts; the area around the city was called Nanglang during the early Three Kingdoms period. As the capital of Nanglang, Pyeongyang remained an important commercial and cultural outpost after the Lelang Commandery was destroyed by an expanding Goguryeo in 313. Goguryeo moved its capital there in 427. According to Christopher Beckwith, Pyongyang is the Sino-Korean reading of the name they gave it in their language: Piarna, or "level land". In 668, Pyongyang became the capital of the Protectorate General to Pacify the East established by the Tang dynasty of China. However, by 676, it was left on the border between Silla and Balhae.
Pyongyang was left abandoned during the Later Silla period, until it was recovered by Wang Geon and decreed as the Western Capital of Goryeo. During the Joseon period, it became the provincial capital of Pyeongan Province. During the Japanese invasions of Korea, Pyongyang was captured by the Japanese until they were defeated in the Siege of Pyongyang. In the 17th century, it became temporarily occupied during the Qing invasion of Joseon until peace arrangements were made between Korea and Qing China. While the invasions made Koreans suspicious of foreigners, the influence of Christianity began to grow after the country opened itself up to foreigners in the 16th century. Pyongyang became the base of Christian expansion in Korea, by 1880 it had more than 100 churches and more Protestant missionaries than any other Asian city. In 1890, the city had 40,000 inhabitants, it was the site of the Battle of Pyongyang during the First Sino-Japanese War, which led to the destruction and depopulation of much of the city.
It was the provincial capital of South Pyeongan Province beginning in 1896. Under Japanese colonial rule, the city became an industrial center, called Heijō in Japanese. Pyongyang in the 1920s In July 1931 the city experienced anti-Chinese riots as a result of the Wanpaoshan Incident and the sensationalized media reports about it which appeared in Imperial Japanese and Korean newspapers. By 1938, Pyongyang had a population of 235,000. On 25 August 1945, the Soviet 25th Army entered Pyongyang and it became the temporary capital of the Provisional People's Committee for North Korea. A People's Committee was established there, led by veteran Christian nationalist Cho Man-sik. Pyongyang became the de facto capital of North Korea upon its establishment in 1948. At the time, the Pyongyang government aimed to recapture Seoul. Pyongyang was again damaged in the Korean War, during which it was occupied by South Korean forces from 19 October to 6 December 1950. In 1952, it was the target of the largest aerial raid of the entire war, involving 1,400 UN aircraft.
After the war, the city was quickly
Panmunjeom, now located in Kaesong, North Hwanghae Province, North Korea, was a village just north of the de facto border between North and South Korea, where the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement that paused the Korean War was signed. The building where the armistice was signed still stands, its name is used as a metonym for the nearby Joint Security Area, where discussions between North and South Korea still take place in blue buildings that straddle the Military Demarcation Line. As such, it is considered one of the last vestiges of the Cold War; the site of the former village is 53 kilometers north-northwest of Seoul and 10 kilometers east of Kaesong. The village, a small cluster of fewer than ten huts, is on the south side of the Kaesong-Seoul road on the west bank of the Sa'cheon stream. Meetings of the Military Armistice Commission took place in several tents set up on the north side; the eighteen copies of Volume I and II of the armistice were signed by the Senior Delegates of each side in a building constructed by both sides over a 48-hour period.
After the Armistice Agreement was signed, construction began in September 1953 on a new site, the JSA, located one kilometer east of the village. All meetings between North Korea and the United Nations Command or South Korea have taken place here since its completion; the JSA is referred to as Panmunjeom. After the war, all civilians were removed from the Korean Demilitarized Zone, except for two villages near the JSA on opposite sides of the Military Demarcation Line. After that, the empty village of Panmunjeom fell into disrepair and disappeared from the landscape. There is no evidence of it today. However, the building constructed for the signing of the armistice has since been renamed by North Korea as the Peace Museum. United Nations forces met with North Korean and Chinese officials at Panmunjeom from 1951 to 1953 for truce talks; the talks dragged on for many months. The main point of contention during the talks was the question surrounding the prisoners of war. Moreover, South Korea was uncompromising in its demand for a unified state.
On June 8, 1953, an agreement to the POW problem was reached. Those prisoners who refused to return to their countries were allowed to live under a neutral supervising commission for three months. At the end of this period, those who still refused repatriation would be released. Among those who refused repatriation were 22 American and British POWs, all but two of whom chose to defect to the People's Republic of China. A final armistice agreement was reached on July 27, 1953; the United Nations Command, Chinese Peoples Liberation Army, North Korea Peoples Army agreed to an armistice ending the fighting. The agreement established a 4-kilometer-wide demilitarized zone along the armistice line dividing Korea into two separate countries. Although most troops and all heavy weapons were to be removed from the area, it has been armed by both sides since the end of the fighting. North Korea Uncovered Daeseong-dong – a village within the DMZ Kijŏng-dong – a village within the DMZ Peace House April 2018 inter-Korean summit May 2018 inter-Korean summit 2018 Inter-Korean Summit The official website of the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit 2018 Inter-Korean Summit The official website of the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit http://llukasz.com/North_Korea.htm Traveller's blog with pictures from North Korea, with web-page dedicated to Panmunjeom Travel in Korea: Panmunjeom information about the village and its history.
Video of Panmunjeom DMZ 360° interactive virtual tour of Panmunjeom Panmunjom at Curlie
April 2018 inter-Korean summit
The April 2018 inter-Korean summit took place on April 27, 2018 on the South Korean side of the Joint Security Area, between Moon Jae-in, President of South Korea, Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, Supreme Leader of North Korea. The summit was the third inter-Korean summit – and the first in eleven years, it was the first time since the end of the Korean War in 1953 that a North Korean leader entered the South's territory. The summit took place after the two sides held several meetings in preparation for the joint attendance at the 2018 Winter Olympics; the idea was brought forward through an official invitation from the North to conduct a meeting. The summit was focused on the North Korean nuclear weapons program and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; the Panmunjom Declaration was made following the summit. The two Koreas' high government officials held a working-level meeting on 4 April 2018 to discuss summit details at the Peace House in the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
The agenda was planned to include denuclearization, peace establishment and improvement of inter-Korean relations for their mutual benefit. Although more than 200 NGOs called for the inclusion of human rights issues in the North and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe for its abducted citizens in the agenda, these were not included; the Peace House was accepted by North Korea for the meeting's location, from among the venues proposed by South Korea, located just south of the military demarcation line in the Joint Security Area of Panmunjeom. The meeting was the first visit by a North Korean leader to the territory of the South Area after the Korean War 1950-53; this initial meeting of the two leaders, who shook hands over the demarcation line, was broadcast live. Moon accepted an invitation from Kim to step over to the North's side of the line, a impromptu moment, before the two walked together to the Peace House; as well as the talks, the two leaders conducted a tree-planting ceremony using soil and water from both sides and attended a banquet.
Many elements of the meeting were expressly designed for symbolism, including an oval meeting table measuring 2,018 millimetres to represent the year. The two leaders were accompanied by their wives, Kim Jung-sook and Ri Sol-ju, a number of other individuals were present at the meeting: Kim Yong-nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly and nominal head of state Kim Yo-jong, sister of Kim Jong-un, alternate member of the Politburo Kim Yong-chol, Vice Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea Choe Hwi, Vice Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea Ri Son-gwon, Chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland Ri Myong-su, chief of the general staff of the Korean People's Army Ri Yong-ho, foreign minister Ri Su-yong, Vice Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea Pak Yong-sik, Minister of People's Armed Forces Chung Eui-yong, National Security Office director, equivalent to national security advisor Suh Hoon, National Intelligence Service director Cho Myoung-gyon, Minister of Unification Im Jong-seok, Chief Presidential Secretary, equivalent to chief of staff, chairman of South Korea's summit preparatory committee Song Young-moo, Minister of National Defense Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeong Kyeong-doo, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff On 24 April 2018, the Japanese Foreign Ministry protested to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the State of Japan, citing the appearance of desserts named "Dokdo" on the dinner menu used during the summit.
Dokdo is the Korean name of a small island group, known as Takeshima in Japanese, midway between the Republic of Korea and Japan. It is the subject of a long-standing sovereignty dispute; the mango mousse desserts were accompanied by Korean-style decorations and a depiction of the Korean peninsula that included the islands. On 27 April 2018, Tarō Kōno, the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, said he felt it was unnecessary to have a "Dokdo" dessert and reiterated claims that the island group is a territory of Japan. Despite the complaint, the Dokdo desserts were served to both Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un during the summit. Both personally cracked open their desserts with small mallets to symbolize a new relationship. In a joint press conference and Moon made a number of pledges regarding co-operation and peace. Notably, these included a pledge to work towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, although Kim did not explicitly agree to give up the North's nuclear weapons. Additionally the two leaders agreed to in the year, convert the Korean Armistice Agreement into a full peace treaty, formally ending the Korean War after 65 years.
Additionally, the leaders pledged to end "hostile activities" between their nations, for the resumption of reunion meetings for divided families, to improve connections along their border, for the cessation of propaganda broadcasts across it. This agreement was known as the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace and Unification of the Korean Peninsula and was signed by both leaders in the South Korean border village of Panmunjom; the press conference was shown live on South Korean television. The leaders pledged greater communication between them, that Moon would visit Pyongyang in late 2018. In the aftermath of the summit, it was agreed that the loudspeakers in the Korean Demilitarized Zone were dismantled beginning on 1 May; this commitment was fulfilled as planned and both sides committed to ending their balloon propaganda campaigns as well. At the same time, North Korea agreed to realign its time with South
Kim Jong-il was the second leader of North Korea. He ruled from the death of his father Kim Il-sung, the first leader of North Korea, in 1994 until his own death in 2011, he was an unelected dictator and was accused of human rights violations. Kim was born in Vyatskoye, Russia part of the Soviet Union. By the early 1980s, Kim had become the heir apparent for the leadership of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and assumed important posts in the party and army organs. Kim succeeded his father and DPRK founder, Kim Il-sung, following the elder Kim's death in 1994. Kim was the General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, WPK Presidium, Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, the fourth-largest standing army in the world. During Kim's rule, the country had a poor human rights record. Kim involved his country in state terrorism and strengthened the role of the military by his Songun politics. Kim's rule saw tentative economic reforms, including the opening of the Kaesong Industrial Park in 2003.
In April 2009, North Korea's constitution was amended to refer to him and his successors as the "supreme leader of the DPRK". The most common colloquial title given to Kim was "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 ill or died. On 19 December 2011, the North Korean government announced that he had died two days earlier, whereupon his third son, Kim Jong-un, was promoted to a senior position in the ruling WPK and succeeded him. After his death, Kim was designated 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. Soviet records show that Kim was born Yuri Irsenovich Kim in 1941 in the village of Vyatskoye, near Khabarovsk, where his father, Kim Il-sung, commanded the 1st Battalion of the Soviet 88th Brigade, made up of Chinese and Korean exiles.
Kim Jong-il's mother, Kim Jong-suk, was Kim Il-sung's first wife. Inside his family, he was nicknamed "Yura", while his younger brother Kim Man-il was nicknamed "Shura". However, Kim Jong-il's official biography states he was born in a secret military camp on Paektu Mountain in Japanese-occupied Korea on 16 February 1942. According to one comrade of Kim's mother, Lee Min, word of Kim's birth first reached an army camp in Vyatskoye via radio and that both Kim and his mother did not return there until the following year. In 1945, Kim was four years old when World War II ended and Korea regained independence from Japan, his father returned to Pyongyang that September, in late November Kim returned to Korea via a Soviet ship, landing at Sonbong. The family moved into a former Japanese officer's mansion with a garden and pool. Kim Jong-il's brother drowned there in 1948. Reports indicate that his mother died in childbirth in 1949. According to his official biography, Kim completed the course of general education between September 1950 and August 1960.
He attended Middle School No. 1 in Pyongyang. This is contested by foreign academics, who believe he is more to have received his early education in the People's Republic of China as a precaution to ensure his safety during the Korean War. Throughout his schooling, Kim was involved in politics, he was active in the Korean Children's Union and the Democratic Youth League of North Korea, taking part in study groups of Marxist political theory and other literature. In September 1957 he became vice-chairman of his middle school's DYL branch, he pursued a programme of anti-factionalism and attempted to encourage greater ideological education among his classmates. Kim is said to have received English language education in Malta in the early 1970s on his infrequent holidays there as a guest of Prime Minister Dom Mintoff; the elder Kim had another son, Kim Pyong-il. Since 1988, Kim Pyong-il has served in a series of North Korean embassies in Europe and was the North Korean ambassador to Poland. Foreign commentators suspect that Kim Pyong-il was sent to these distant posts by his father in order to avoid a power struggle between his two sons.
By the time of the Sixth Party Congress in October 1980, Kim Jong-il's control of the Party operation was complete. He was given senior posts in the Military Commission and the party Secretariat. According to his official biography, the WPK Central Committee had anointed him successor to Kim Il-sung in February 1974; when he was made a member of the Seventh Supreme People's Assembly in February 1982, international observers deemed him the heir apparent of North Korea. Prior to 1980, he had no public profile and was referred to only as the "Party Centre". At this time Kim assumed the title "Dear Leader", the government began building a personality cult around him patterned after that of his father, the "Great Leader". Kim Jong-il was hailed by the media as the "fearless leader" and "the great successor to the revolutionary cause", he emerged as the most powerful figure behind his father in North Korea. On 24 December 1991, Kim was named Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army. Defence Minister Oh Jin-wu, one of Kim Il-sung's mo