Kim Kyong-hui

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Kim Kyong-hui
Born(1946-05-30) 30 May 1946 (age 67)
Pyongyang, North Korea
Alma materKim Il-sung University,
Kim Il-sung Higher Party School,
Moscow State University
OccupationSecretary for Organisation of the Workers' Party of Korea and general in the Korean People's Army
Political partyWorkers' Party of Korea
Spouse(s)Jang Sung-taek (1972-2013; his death)
Relativesnephew Kim Jong-un
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl김경희
Hancha金敬姬
Revised RomanizationGim Gyeonghui
McCune–ReischauerKim Kyŏnghŭi
 
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Kim Kyong-hui
Born(1946-05-30) 30 May 1946 (age 67)
Pyongyang, North Korea
Alma materKim Il-sung University,
Kim Il-sung Higher Party School,
Moscow State University
OccupationSecretary for Organisation of the Workers' Party of Korea and general in the Korean People's Army
Political partyWorkers' Party of Korea
Spouse(s)Jang Sung-taek (1972-2013; his death)
Relativesnephew Kim Jong-un
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl김경희
Hancha金敬姬
Revised RomanizationGim Gyeonghui
McCune–ReischauerKim Kyŏnghŭi

General Kim Kyong-hui (born 30 May 1946) is the daughter of the former leader of North Korea, Kim Il-sung, and his first wife Kim Jong-suk, and the sister of the late leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il. She currently serves as Secretary for Organisation of the Workers' Party of Korea. An important member of Kim Jong-il's inner circle of trusted friends and advisors,[1] she was director of the WPK Light Industry Department from 1988 to 2012.[2] Her husband was Jang Sung-taek, who was executed in 2013 for treason and corruption.[3]

Biography[edit]

Kim Kyong-hui was born in Pyongyang on 30 May 1946, the last child of the marriage between Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-suk. After a brief period spent in Jilin Province of the People's Republic of China due to the Korean War, Kim Kyong-hui returned to Pyongyang with her brother, Kim Jong-il. She entered Kim Il-sung University in 1963, studying political economy. It was here she met Jang Sung-taek, and continued dating[clarification needed] him also after he moved to Wonsan, allegedly because the Kim family opposed their relationship,[4] and the two eventually married in 1972. She attended the Kim Il-sung Higher Party School in 1966 and went to study at the Moscow State University in 1968.

Kim Kyong-hui's political career began in 1971 with a position in the Korean Democratic Women's Union, and in 1975 she was transferred to the post of vice-director of the International Liaison Department of the Workers' Party of Korea, promoted to first vice-director in 1976. It was the period when North Korea was establishing diplomatic relations with a number of capitalist countries, like Thailand and Singapore, as well as the United Nations; Kim Kyong-hui oversaw the placement of qualified diplomatic personnel during her tenure as International Department vice-director.[4]

In 1988, she was promoted to WPK Central Committee member and director of the Light Industry Department. In 1990, she was elected deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly for the first time. Her role was particularly significant as she led the Economic Policy Inspection Department, then again the Light Industry Department during the "Arduous March" period after Kim Il-sung's death.

Kim Kyong-hui disappeared from the limelight in 2003, in the same period when Jang Sung-taek was apparently purged as well.[4] However, while her husband resurfaced with a high-level position in 2007, she did not appear in public until 2009, playing a more and more prominent role, accompanying Kim Jong-il to several inspection tours and attending official events.

On 27 September 2010, it was announced that she was made a general in the Korean People's Army.[5] This concurred with Kim Jong-un's promotion to the same rank. A day later, the 3rd Conference of the Workers’ Party elected her as a member of the Political Bureau, which is the central organization of the party.

Kim Kyong-hui later continued to pose as a prominent member of the North Korean leadership under her nephew Kim Jong-un. She was elected member of the WPK Secretariat and head of the WPK Organisation and Guidance Department (the foremost party department led by her uncle Kim Yong-ju until 1974, and by Kim Jong-il himself from 1974 till his death) at the 4th Party Conference in April 2012.

According to South Korean sources, she also worked as Kim Jong-il's personal aide.[6] Her influential position in North Korean echelons (also confirmed by Kenji Fujimoto) allowed her to maintain close relations with president Kim Yong-nam of the SPA Presidium, WPK Secretaries Choe Thae-bok and Kim Ki Nam, and Director Kim Yang-gon of the WPK United Front Department.[4] In addition, her post as head of the Light Industry Department gave her a prominent role in shaping North Korean economic policy as it was shifting its focus on developing light industry.[7]

In 2010, a hamburger restaurant owned entirely by Kim Kyong-hui opened in Pyongyang. Since burgers are considered American food, the restaurant does not market them as "burgers", instead calling them "minced meat and bread". It is the first hamburger franchise in Pyongyang.[8]

According to a report by the Daily NK in August 2012, Kim is suffering from ill health caused by alcohol abuse.[9]

On December 15, 2013 she was named to the Kim Kuk-tae funeral committee,[10] emerging unaffected by her former husband's execution.[11]

Family[edit]

Together with Jang Sung-taek she had a daughter, Jang Kum-song (1977–2006), who lived overseas in Paris as an international student; she refused an order to return to Pyongyang and then committed suicide in September 2006, reportedly due to Jang and his wife Kim's opposition to her relationship with her boyfriend.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mansourov (2004), p. IV-17
  2. ^ Baird (2003), p. 114
  3. ^ "North Korean leader's uncle 'executed over corruption'". BBC. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Kim Kyong Hui". North Korea Leadership Watch. 
  5. ^ McDonald, Mark (27 September 2010). "Kim's Son Elevated Before Meeting". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Chosun Ilbo, 11 February 2010.
  7. ^ 2010, 2011 New Year Editorials by Rodong Sinmun, Joson Inmingun and Chongnyon Jonwi.
  8. ^ "Happy Meals in Pyongyang?". Radio Free Asia. 15 October 2010. 
  9. ^ Daily NK, "Alcohol A Threat To Kim Guardianship Role", 24 August 2012
  10. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25391160
  11. ^ http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/15/us-korea-north-idUSBRE9BE01T20131215
  12. ^ Yi, Yeong-jong (18 September 2006). "파리의 김정일 조카 장금송 비운의 러브스토리 (Unlucky love story of Kim Jong-il's niece in Paris)" (in Korean). JoongAng Ilbo. Archived from the original on 10 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 

Bibliography[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Kim Jong-il
Head of the Organisation and Guidance Department
2012–present
Incumbent