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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Kim Jong Un

U.S. News & World Report logo U.S. News & World Report 4/16/2017 Shelbi Austin
A man wears a pin with pictures of former North Korean leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il in central Pyongyang, North Korea April 12, 2017. Postcards from Pyongyang

1. There's some debate about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's age. In 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department listed his birthdate as Jan. 8, 1984; other sources indicate he was born on that day in 1983. His mother was Ko Yong Hui and his father was Kim Jong Il, the former leader of North Korea who ruled from 1994 until his death in 2011. 

2. Of his father’s seven children, four daughters and three sons, he is the third-youngest son.

3. His oldest half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, was originally planned to be their father's successor. Kim Jong Nam was poisoned and killed in February 2017.

4. Kim Jong Un attended Liebefeld-Steinhölzli Schule, a Swiss state school, as a teenager for two years. He attended the school under the pseudonym Pak Un. It is assumed he returned to Pyongyang, when he abruptly left the school when he was about 17.

5. While at school in Switzerland, he received failing grades in natural sciences and received good grades in music and technical studies.

6. He reportedly has a love for cheese and heavy smoking, which have likely led to his health and weight problems.

7. He has a passion for American basketball and when was younger, was a fan of Michael Jordan. Kim Jong Un also has a close friendship with retired NBA player Dennis Rodman, who has visited him in North Korea on several occasions.

8. He has two degrees, one in physics from Kim il Sung University and another as an Army officer obtained from the Kim Il Sung Military University.

9. He married Ri Sol Ju in 2009 and in 2012 the couple had a daughter named Ju Ae. It’s speculated that Kim Jong Un has more than one child.

10. He has reportedly executed more than 300 people, including at least 140 senior officials, since he came to power in 2011. He had his uncle Jang Song Thaek arrested and executed for treachery in 2013.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

This picture taken on February 22, 2017 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 23 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) visiting the People's Theatre to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State Merited Chorus in Pyongyang.: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the People's Theatre on Feb. 27, 2017, in Pyongyang. © (STR/AFP/Getty Images) North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the People's Theatre on Feb. 27, 2017, in Pyongyang.

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