CNN Editorial Research
(CNN) — Here is a look at the life of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Birth date: January 8 (Widely believed to be in his mid-30s, though birth year is publicly unavailable.)
Father: Kim Jong Il
Mother: Ko Yong Hui
Marriage: Ri Sol Ju
Education: Kim Il Sung Military Academy, 2002-2007
Youngest son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
April 2009 – Named to North Korea’s National Defense Commission.
September 28, 2010 – Promoted to four-star general and named vice chairman of the Central Military Commission as well as to the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
October 9, 2010 – Kim Jong Nam, eldest son of Kim Jong Il, tells Japan’s TV Asahi that he opposes the hereditary transfer of power for a third generation. These are his first comments since the promotion of Kim Jong Un, his half-brother.
December 17, 2011 – Kim Jong Il dies at the age of 69.
December 28, 2011 – Accompanies the body of Kim Jong Il during the funeral procession through Pyongyang.
December 31, 2011 – Assumes command of the North Korean army. State-run Korean Central News Agency reports that the power was transferred to him on October 8 at the behest of his father.
April 15, 2012 – Speaks before hundreds of troops and others in Pyongyang as part of a celebration marking 100 years since the birth of the nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung, his grandfather. Kim’s address is his first televised speech since assuming the country’s leadership.
June 6, 2012 – Makes his second public speech, speaking to tens of thousands of children in Pyongyang on the 66th anniversary of the Korean Children’s Union.
July 18, 2012 – Kim is given the title marshal of the army. It is the latest in a string of moves to reconfigure the top ranks of North Korea’s military. The announcement follows the removal of the army chief, Ri Yong Ho.
March 2013 – Hosts former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman.
March 9, 2014 – Kim is unanimously elected as Deputy to the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) of the DPRK, with a reported 100% turnout.
September-October 2014 – Kim disappears from public view for about six weeks, reportedly to have a cyst removed from his right ankle.
July 2015 – South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se says that Kim has executed 70 officials since coming to power in late 2011.
December 10, 2015 – According to state media outlet KCNA, Kim claims North Korea has added the hydrogen bomb to its nuclear arsenal. But outside observers are skeptical, saying that such an advance in nuclear technology seems unlikely.
July 6, 2016 – The Obama administration imposes sanctions on Kim and 10 other regime officials for their alleged complicity in human rights abuses against the North Korean people. The move marks the first time Washington has sanctioned Kim personally.
September 21, 2016 – South Korea’s Defense Minister announces that South Korea has elite troops on standby ready to assassinate Kim if the country feels threatened by North Korean nuclear weapons.
December 29, 2016 – A South Korean think tank publishes a report detailing the leader’s use of executions to hold onto power. According to the report, 340 people were executed during a five-year span.
September 22, 2017 – After US President Donald Trump threatens to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself or an ally. Kim makes a rare direct statement on North Korean television, saying Trump will “pay dearly,” and “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire.”
February 10, 2018 – Extends a formal invitation to South Korean President Moon Jae-in to travel to North Korea. Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s younger sister, presents the invite at Seoul’s presidential palace, marking the first time that a member of the North’s ruling dynasty has visited since the Korean War, which ended in an armistice in 1953.
March 8, 2018 – The White House announces that Trump has agreed to meet Kim. The talks would be the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.
March 25-28, 2018 – Kim makes a surprise trip to Beijing and meets with President Xi Jinping, Chinese state media confirms. The trip is Kim’s first abroad since he took the reins after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in late 2011.
April 27, 2018 – During a day-long summit, Kim and Moon pledge to formally end the Korean War, 65 years after hostilities ceased. The Punmunjom Declaration also calls for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
May 26, 2018 – Holds a surprise meeting with Moon, their second meeting in a month, at the Demilitarized Zone, the South Korean presidency says in a statement, days after Trump had called off a June 12 summit with Kim.
June 12, 2018 – Meets with Trump for almost five hours in Singapore, the first time sitting leaders of the United States and North Korea have met. The two leaders sign a statement that says: “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
September 18-20, 2018 – Meets with Moon in Pyongyang, the third summit in 2018 between the two leaders and the first time since 2007 that a South Korean president has traveled to North Korea.
February 27-28, 2019 – Kim and Trump meet in Hanoi, Vietnam, but the summit ends with no joint agreement after Kim insists all US sanctions on North Korea be lifted.
April 25, 2019 – Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold their first-ever summit, in the Russian city of Vladivostok. Following their meeting, Putin and Kim give very brief statements saying they had exchanged opinions on the Korea conflict and thanked one another for coming.
June 30, 2019 – Kim greets Trump at the border between North and South Korea. Trump becomes the first sitting president to enter North Korea. He takes 20 steps beyond the border and shakes hands with Kim. Although the American and North Korean governments tout the historic nature of the meeting, their talks do not appear to have yielded any new commitments to denuclearization.
April 20, 2020 – The United States is monitoring intelligence that suggests Kim is in grave danger after undergoing a previous surgery, according to a US official with direct knowledge. Another US official tells CNN that the concerns about Kim’s health are credible, but the severity is hard to assess.
May 2, 2020 – Kim made an appearance at a May Day celebration, at which he was pictured smoking and laughing, North Korean state-run media reports. This would be the leader’s first public appearance in about three weeks after global speculation over his health.
January 9, 2021 – Kim says North Korea is developing new weaponry including a nuclear-powered submarine, tactical nuclear weapons and advanced warheads designed to penetrate missile defense systems.
June 16, 2021 – KCNA reports that Kim has admitted his country is facing food shortages that he blamed on last year’s typhoon and floods, months after he urged people to undertake another “Arduous March,” while addressing a top-level political meeting.
June 30, 2021 – State media reports that Kim has fired several senior officials who failed to enforce North Korea’s stringent Covid-19 prevention, a dereliction of duty which the young dictator said will have “grave consequences” for the impoverished and isolated nation.
October 12, 2021 – Kim says North Korea’s weapons are needed to defend the country against a “hostile” United States, KCNA reports. Kim makes the comments against a backdrop of missiles, including what analysts believe is one of the world’s largest ballistic missiles, at the Defense Development Exhibition to mark the 76th anniversary of North Korean Workers’ Party.
November 19, 2022 – KCNA releases a photograph of Kim with his young daughter, whose existence had not previously been confirmed, at the launch of “a new type” of intercontinental ballistic missile.
September 12-17 2023 – Kim visits Russia for six days and tours key sites in the Russian Far East region after Putin previously said said Russia is considering some military cooperation with North Korea, following a summit at which Kim appeared to endorse Moscow’s war on Ukraine.
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