Meet the Members of the Chorus

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Kim Il-Sung

× Time in office: 1948 – 1994 (the duration equivalent of the end of Truman’s presidency to the middle of Clinton’s)

× Referred to as the “Eternal President of the Republic”

× Born during Japanese colonization; parents were anti-Japanese activists and the entire family immigrated to Manchuria (Kim Il-Sung actually spoke very little Korean)

× Heavily involved in Chinese anti-Japanese guerilla groups

× Joined the Communist Party of China in 1931

× Noticeable success in northern Chinese guerrilla groups aided him in becoming the leader of Korean guerrilla groups—that later trained with the Soviet Union (Kim Il-Sung became a Major in USSR’s Red Army and fought in WWII)

× Created the Korean People’s Army (KPA) with backing from Stalin

× Declared the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in September 9th, 1945 (considered the entire Korean peninsula as territory even though South Korea was founded later in 1948)

× Communist Party + Worker’s Party of North Korea = Worker’s Party of Korea

× Established the premises of his rule under the idea of juche, “self-reliance”

× Waged the Korean War (1950 – theoretically 1953) (Although China was an ally, there were tensions between the two, predominantly due to the fact that China funded the military escapade more and provided better equipment)

× Trivia: had a fear of traveling by plane

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Kim Jong-Il

× Time in office: 1994 – 2011

× The oldest son of Kim Il-Sung

× Born in Vyatskoye, Khabarovsk Krai, Russia (returned to N. Korea at age four)

× After Kim Il-Sung’s death, it took Kim Jong-Il almost three years to consolidate power

× During the 1990s, the country was in economic downfall, experienced severe floods (due to poor land management), inability to import essential goods to sustain industries, exacerbated by having only 18% arable land and widespread famine (implemented a “military first” policy and heavily dependent on foreign food aid)

× Implemented the “sunshine policy” in attempts to ease relations with S. Korea—the policy entailed allowing South Korean companies to start projects in N. K.

× 1985 – 1993 part of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Powers, yet eventually refused to comply with conduct rules and eventually withdrew from the pact

× Signed the Agreed Framework with the U.S. in 1994

× Conducted various missile and nuclear tests (the latter in 2006 and 2009)

× Towards the end of his term, Kim Jong-Il was in bad health, despite the official reports from N.K. denying it. (Succeeded by his youngest son, Kim Jong-Un)

× Trivia: liked basketball (former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright presented him a basketball signed by Michael Jordan)

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Kim Jong-Un

× Time in office: 2011 – present

× The world’s youngest head of state

× He is speculated to have studied in Switzerland

× Competed with his elder half-brother Kim Jong-Nam for succession. (His brother fell out of favor in 2001 because he was caught using a fake passport when entering Japan to go to Tokyo Disneyland)

× Since 2009, Kim Jong-Un has been the de facto leader; referred to as “Brilliant Comrade,” and Kim Jung-Il made much effort in ensuring allegiance to his son.

× Officially part of a triumvirate—with Premier Pak Pong-Ju, and Parliament Chairman Kim Yong-Nam

× Ordered missile testing over Japan, issued threats of nuclear war that ignited regional and international tension, executed ex-girlfriend (among other human rights violations, much like his late father)

× Trivia: organized an all-girls pop music group called Moranbong Band

(Photo Source: Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jung-Il, Kim Jong-Un)

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