Kim Jong-il

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Posted by motoman 04/07/2009 @ 16:10

Tags : kim jong-il, north korea, asia, world

News headlines
Kim Jong Il Only Wants Money and Conflict - Daily NK
He went on, “While South Korean entrepreneurs and governmental officials believe that they can enhance the inter-Korean relationship and give hope for economic revival to North Korean workers through the Kaesong Complex, Kim Jong Il has only his two...
North Korea to be more lonely after nuclear test - guardian.co.uk
It was used at home by state media to inspire greater national pride and respect for leader Kim Jong-il. Experts believe North Korea is some way off from having the technology to create a nuclear warhead to fix on a missile....
Youngest son of Kim Jong-il tests role as heir - 중앙데일리
The third and youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has been increasingly visible on official occasions and masterminded some of the country's major publicity events, such as a recent fireworks extravaganza, in an apparent bid to burnish his...
North Korean Musical Pushes Boundaries: A Review of Yodok Stories - The Indypendent
The project of esteemed Polish documentarian Andrzej Fidyk is to put the North Korean crisis on the map by reversing the message channeled through Chairman Kim Jong-il's propaganda machine. Confronted with a complete lack of record, testimony or access...
MALLORY FACTOR: It's Not Your Father's South (or North) Korea Anymore… - FOXNews
By Mallory Factor North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has a flair for the dramatic. Last month's launch of a Taepo-Dong 2 missile as nato's leaders gathered for their 60th anniversary summit brought North Korea to the attention of the world again....
Kim Jong-il Not Among Most Influential 100 Leaders - Korea Times
North Korea's top leader, Kim Jong-il, is no longer on the list of the Time magazine' selection of the world's most influential 100 leaders, despite his effort to draw the world's attention with the recent rocket launch threat and another nuclear test,...
Kim Jong Il's son elevated to defense post - The Associated Press
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's youngest son has reportedly been named to the powerful National Defense Commission, an appointment analysts said indicates the 26-year-old is being groomed to take power....
The Secret History of Kim Jong Il - Foreign Policy
By Kim Hyun Sik Few people have the chance to watch a shy young man grow into a ruthless dictator—and live to talk about it. But, for one North Korean professor, Kim Jong Il is much more than the man holding his country hostage. He'sa former student....
Kim Jong Il inspects military academy - Xinhua
PYONGYANG, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Kim Jong Il, the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has inspected a military academy, the official news agency KCNA reported Wednesday. Kim was satisfied with facilities improvement at the...
May 14th Houston Sports FaF Smear (Plus Kate Gosselin) - Bleacher Report
Two months ago I actually wrote a post comparing her to Kim Jong Il, but then couldn't figure out how to make a sports connection and deleted it. So I'm not Johnny Come Lately to the Kate Gosselin Hatewagon. I'm driving the sumbitch, and have been so...

Kim Jong-il

Kim Jong-il

Kim Jong-il (also written as Kim Jong Il) (born 16 February 1941, Vyatskoye, Soviet Union; official biographies state 16 February 1942, Baekdu Mountain, Japanese Korea) is the de facto leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. He is the Chairman of the National Defense Commission, Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, and General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (the ruling party since 1948). He succeeded his father Kim Il-sung, founder of North Korea, who died in 1994, and commands the fourth largest standing army in the world. North Korea officially refers to him as the "Great Leader" (Korean: 위대한 령도자, widaehan ryŏngdoja), formerly referring to him as the "Dear Leader".

CNN has described Kim as "one of the most mysterious leaders in the world." Much of this reputation stems from his infrequent media appearances, his emphasis on isolation as a key element of North Korea's foreign policy under his leadership, and recent rumours of his declining health or possible death.

Soviet records show that Kim Jong-il was born in the village of Vyatskoye, near Khabarovsk, in 1941, 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. During his youth in the Soviet Union, Kim Jong-il was known as Yuri Irsenovich Kim (Юрий Ирсенович Ким), taking his patronymic from his father's Russified name, Ir-sen.

In 1945, Kim was three or four years old (depending on his birth year) when World War II ended and Korea regained independence from Japan. His father returned to Pyongyang that September, and in late November Kim returned to Korea via a Soviet ship, landing at Sonbong (선봉군, also Unggi). The family moved into a former Japanese officer's mansion in Pyongyang, with a garden and pool. Kim Jong-il's brother, "Shura" Kim (the first Kim Jong-il, but known by his Russian nickname), drowned there in 1948. Unconfirmed reports suggest that 5 year old Kim Jong-il may have caused the accident.In 1949, his mother died in childbirth. Again unconfirmed reports suggest that his mother may have been shot and left to bleed to death.

Kim Jong-il's official biography states that he was born in a secret military camp on Baekdu Mountain (백두산) in northern Korea on 16 February 1942. Official biographers claim that his birth at Baekdu Mountain was foretold by a swallow, and heralded by the appearance of a double rainbow over the mountain and a new star in the heavens.

According to his official biography, Kim completed the course of general education between September 1950 and August 1960. He attended Primary School No. 4 and Middle School No. 1 in Pyongyang. This is contested by foreign academics, who believe he is more likely 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 Children's Union and Democratic Youth League (DYL), 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. He organized academic competitions and seminars, as well as helping to arrange field trips.

During his youth Kim's interests included music, agriculture and automotive repair. At school he repaired trucks and electric motors in a practice workshop, and he often visited factories and farms with his classmates.

Kim Jong Il began studying at Kim Il-sung University in September 1960, majoring in Marxist political economy. His minor subjects included philosophy and military science. While at university, he also undertook production training at Pyongyang Textile Machinery Factory, as a road-working apprentice and as a worker building TV broadcasting equipment.

Kim joined the Workers' Party of Korea in July 1961. He began accompanying his father in "tours of field guidance", which consisted of visits to factories, farms and workplaces around the country.

Kim Jong-il graduated from Kim Il-sung University in April 1964.

Kim is also said to have received English language education at the University of Malta in the early 1970s, on his infrequent holidays in Malta as guest of Prime Minister Dom Mintoff.

The elder Kim had meanwhile remarried and had another son, Kim Pyong-il (named after Kim Jong-il's drowned brother). Since 1988, Kim Pyong-il has served in a series of North Korean embassies in Europe and is currently 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.

After graduating in 1964, Kim Jong-il began his ascension through the ranks of the ruling Korean Workers' Party (KWP). His entrance to politics was met by the tensions within the global communist movement caused by the Sino-Soviet split. Still following Marxism-Leninism as their core ideology, the KWP had launched an offensive against elements within the party deemed revisionist. Dubbed "anti-Party revisionists", senior cadre had spread feudal Confucian ideas, attempted to water down the party's revolutionary line and ignored orders from General Secretary Kim Il-sung.

Shortly after his graduation, Kim was appointed instructor and section chief to the Party Central Committee. His first activities were undertaking parts of the WPK offensive. He agitated amongst officials to ensure party activities did not deviate from the ideological line set by Kim Il-sung, and worked to reveal anti-Party revisionists. He also put in place measures to ensure the Party's ideological system was rigidly enforced among the media, writers and artists.

During the late 1960s, Kim wrote a number of discourses on economics. He rallied against moves to make material incentive the primary force behind economic development, and toured the country giving guidance on technical restructuring occurring within industry at the time.

Between 1967–1969, Kim turned his attention to the military. He believed bureaucrats within the Korean People's Army (KPA) were oppressing the Army's political organizations and distorting state orders. Kim decided these elements posed a threat to the WPK's control of the military. At the Fourth Plenary Meeting of the Fourth Party Committee of the KPA, he exposed certain officers believed to be responsible, who were subsequently expelled.

During his early years in the Party Central Committee, Kim also oversaw activities of the Propaganda and Agitation Department, in which he worked to revolutionize the Korean fine arts. Artists were encouraged to create works new in content and form, produced by new systems and methods, and abandoning old traditions in the Korean arts.

Kim's theory was that film combined a number of artistic forms, and therefore the development of Korean cinema would in turn develop other artistic spheres. This began with film adaptations for Kim Il-sung's works written during World War II, beginning with Five Guerrilla Brothers in 1967. In the early 1970s, operatic adaptations of Kim Il-sung's works began.

Kim was appointed vice-director of the Party Central Committee (PCC) in September 1970, and became an elected member of the PCC in October 1972. By 1973 he was made secretary.

During the early 1970s, Kim worked to eliminate bureaucracy and encourage political activity amongst the people by Party officials. This included a policy forcing bureaucrats to work among workers at the next subordinate level for 20 days per month.

In February 1974, Kim Jong-il was elected to the Political Committee of the PCC. By this time he had acquired the nicknames of "dear leader" and "intelligent leader", according to his official biography.

That same year, Kim launched the Three-revolution Team Movement. Described as "a new method of guiding the revolution", the movement introduced teams which travelled around the country providing political, scientific and technical training through short courses. The expertise gained was continually developed through mass meetings in which knowledge could be shared.

Kim also led the shock-brigade movement of scientists and technicians — a similar initiative for new scientific research.

During the late 1970s, Kim was involved in economic planning, including several campaigns to rapidly develop certain sectors of the economy. He worked on initiatives to build mass political movements within the military, including the Three Revolution Red Flag Movement, Red Flag Company Movement and the Red Flag Vanguard Company Movement.

He was also active in efforts to build a campaign for the reunification of Korea. This included assisting in the formation of the International Liaison Committee for the Independent and Peaceful Reunification of Korea in 1977, attending talks between political parties and groups within the DPRK, and taking part in high-level negotiations between the DPRK and Republic of Korea.

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 Politburo, the Military Commission and the party Secretariat. 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.

At this time Kim assumed the title "Dear Leader" (친애한 지도자, chinaehan jidoja) the government began building a personality cult around him patterned after that of his father, the "Great Leader". Kim Jong-il was regularly 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 also named supreme commander of the North Korean armed forces. Since the Army is the real foundation of power in North Korea, this was a vital step. Defense Minister Oh Jin-wu, one of Kim Il-sung's most loyal subordinates, engineered Kim Jong-il's acceptance by the Army as the next leader of North Korea, despite his lack of military service. The only other possible leadership candidate, Prime Minister Kim Il (no relation), was removed from his posts in 1976. In 1992, Kim Il-sung publicly stated that his son was in charge of all internal affairs in the Democratic People's Republic.

In 1992, radio broadcasts started referring to him as the "Dear Father", instead of the "Dear Leader", suggesting a promotion. His 50th birthday was the occasion for massive celebrations, exceeded only by those for the 80th birthday of Kim Il Sung himself on 15 April.

According to defector Hwang Jang-yop, the North Korean system became even more centralized and autocratic under Kim Jong-il than it had been under his father. Although Kim Il-sung required his ministers to be loyal to him, he nonetheless sought their advice in decision-making; Kim Jong-il demands absolute obedience and agreement, and views any deviation from his thinking as a sign of disloyalty. According to Hwang, Kim Jong-il personally directs even minor details of state affairs, such as the size of houses for party secretaries and the delivery of gifts to his subordinates.

By the 1980s, North Korea began to experience severe economic stagnation. Kim Il-sung's policy of juche (self-reliance) cut the country off from almost all external trade, even with its traditional partners, the Soviet Union and China.

South Korea accused Kim of ordering the 1983 bombing in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar), which killed 17 visiting South Korean officials, including four cabinet members, and another in 1987 which killed all 115 on board Korean Air Flight 858. A North Korean agent, Kim Hyon Hui, confessed to planting a bomb in the case of the second, saying the operation was ordered by Kim Jong-il personally.

President Kim Il-sung died 8 July 1994, at age 82 of a heart attack. He was not replaced as President, and received the designation of "Eternal President", resting in the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in central Pyongyang. The active position has been abolished in deference to the memory of Kim Il-sung. Kim Jong-il officially took the titles of General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defense Commission on 8 October 1997. In 1998, his Defense Commission position was declared to be "the highest post of the state", so Kim may be regarded as North Korea's head of state from that date. Although Kim is not required to stand for popular election to his key offices, he is unanimously elected to the Supreme People's Assembly every five years, representing a military constituency.

North Korea's state-controlled economy struggled throughout the 1990s, primarily due to the loss of strategic trade arrangements with the Soviet Union and strained relations with China following China's normalization with South Korea in 1992. In addition, North Korea experienced record-breaking floods (1995 and 1996) followed by several years of equally severe drought beginning in 1997. This, compounded with only 18% arable land and an inability to import the goods necessary to sustain industry, led to an immense famine and left North Korea in economic shambles. Faced with a country in decay, Kim adopted a "Military-First" policy (선군정치, Sŏn'gun chŏngch'i) to strengthen the country and reinforce the regime. On the national scale, this policy has produced a positive growth rate for the country since 1996, and the implementation of "landmark socialist-type market economic practices" in 2002 kept the North afloat despite a continued dependency on foreign aid for food.

In the wake of the devastation of the 1990s, the government began formally approving some activity of small-scale bartering and trade. As observed by Daniel Sneider, associate director for research at Stanford's Asia-Pacific Research Center, this flirtation with capitalism is "fairly limited, but — especially compared to the past — there are now remarkable markets that create the semblance of a free market system." In 2002, Kim Jong-il declared that "money should be capable of measuring the worth of all commodities." These gestures toward economic reform mirror similar actions taken by China's Deng Xiaoping in the late 1980s and early 90s. During a rare visit in 2006, Kim expressed admiration for China's rapid economic progress.

In 1998, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung implemented the "Sunshine policy" (햇볕 정책, Haetpyŏt chŏngch'aek) to improve North-South relations and to allow South Korean companies to start projects in the North. Kim Jong-il announced plans to import and develop new technologies to develop North Korea's fledgling software industry. As a result of the new policy, the Kaesong Industrial Park was constructed in 2003 just north of the de-militarized zone, with the planned participation of 250 South Korean companies, employing 100,000 North Koreans, by 2007. However, by March 2007, the Park contained only 21 companies — employing 12,000 North Korean workers.

In 1994, North Korea and the United States signed an Agreed Framework which was designed to freeze and eventually dismantle the North's nuclear weapons program in exchange for aid in producing two power-generating nuclear reactors. In 2002, Kim Jong-il's government admitted to having produced nuclear weapons since the 1994 agreement. Kim's regime argued the secret production was necessary for security purposes — citing the presence of United States owned nuclear weapons in South Korea and the new tensions with the U.S. under President George W. Bush. On 9 October 2006, North Korea's Korean Central News Agency announced that it had successfully conducted an underground nuclear test.

By 10 September there were conflicting reports. Unidentified South Korean government officials said Kim had undergone surgery after suffering a minor stroke and had apparently "intended to attend the 9 September event in the afternoon but decided not to because of the aftermath of the surgery." High ranking North Korean official Kim Yong-nam said, "While we wanted to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the country with General Secretary Kim Jong-Il, we celebrated on our own." Song Il-Ho, North Korea's ambassador said, "We see such reports as not only worthless, but rather as a conspiracy plot." Seoul's Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that "the South Korean embassy in Beijing had received an intelligence report that Kim collapsed on 22 August." The New York Times reported Kim was "very ill and most likely suffered a stroke a few weeks ago, but U.S. intelligence authorities do not think his death is imminent." The BBC noted that the North Korean government denied these reports, stating that Kim's health problems were "not serious enough to threaten his life," although they did confirm that he had suffered from a stroke on 15 August.

On 19 October, North Korea reportedly ordered its diplomats to stay near their embassies to await “an important message”, according to Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun, setting off renewed speculation about the health of the ailing leader.

By 29 October 2008, reports stated Kim suffered a serious setback and had been taken back to hospital. The New York Times reported that Taro Aso, on 28 October 2008, stated in a parliamentary session that Kim had been hospitalized: "His condition is not so good. However, I don't think he is totally incapable of making decisions." Aso further said a French neurosurgeon was aboard a plane for Beijing, en route to North Korea. Further, Kim Sung-ho, director of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, told lawmakers in a closed parliamentary session in Seoul that "Kim appeared to be recovering quickly enough to start performing his daily duties." The Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported "a serious problem" with Kim's health. Japan's Fuji television reported that Kim's eldest son, Kim Jong Nam, traveled to Paris to hire a neurosurgeon for his father. The French weekly Le Point reported that a French neurosurgeon Francois-Xavier Roux traveled to North Korea to give medical care to Kim, but the doctor said he was in Beijing for several days and not North Korea.

Francois-Xavier Roux, neurosurgery director of Paris' Sainte-Anne Hospital, admitted he visited Pyongyang. Fuji Television Network showed a footage, where the brain surgeon boarded flight CA121 bound for Pyongyang from Beijing on October 24. But he denied treating 66-year-old Kim for a reported stroke. On November 5, 2008, the North's Korean Central News Agency published 2 photos showing Kim posing with dozens of Korean People's Army (KPA) soldiers on a visit to military Unit 2200 and sub-unit of Unit 534. Shown with his usual bouffant hairstyle, with his trademark sunglasses and a white winter parka, Kim stood in front of trees with autumn foliage and a red-and-white banner. The BBC has questioned the authenticity of at least one of these photos.

In November 2008, Japan's TBS TV network reported that Kim had suffered a second stroke in October, which "affected the movement of his left arm and leg and also his ability to speak." However, South Korea's intelligence agency rejected this report.

Kim's three sons and his son-in-law, along with O Kuk-ryol, an army general, have been noted as possible successors, but the North Korean government has been wholly silent on this issue. South Korean media have suggested Kim is grooming his son Kim Jong-chul but Kim Yong Hyun, a political expert at the Institute for North Korean Studies at Seoul's Dongguk University, has said, "Even the North Korean establishment would not advocate a continuation of the family dynasty at this point." Kim's eldest son Kim Jong-nam was earlier believed to be the designated heir but he appears to have fallen out of favor after being arrested at Narita International Airport near Tokyo in 2001 while traveling on a forged passport.

Critics maintain Kim Jong-il is the centre of an elaborate personality cult inherited from his father and founder of the DPRK, Kim Il-sung. Defectors have been quoted as saying that North Korean schools deify both father and son. He is often the centre of attention throughout ordinary life in the DPRK. His birthday is one of the most important public holidays in the country. On his 60th birthday (based on his official date of birth), mass celebrations occurred throughout the country.

One point of view is that Kim Jong Il's cult of personality is solely out of respect for Kim Il-sung or out of fear of punishment for failure to pay homage. Media and government sources from outside of North Korea generally support this view, while North Korean government sources say that it is genuine hero worship. The song No Motherland Without You, sang by the North Korean Army Choir, was created especially for Kim and is one of the most popular tunes in the country.

Like his father, Kim has a fear of flying, and has always traveled by private armored train for state visits to Russia and China. The BBC reported that Konstantin Pulikovsky, a Russian emissary who traveled with Kim across Russia by train, told reporters that Kim had live lobsters air-lifted to the train every day, which he ate with silver chopsticks.

Kim is said to be a huge film buff, owning a collection of more than 20,000 video tapes. His reported favorites are the Friday the 13th, Rambo, James Bond, and Godzilla series, as well as Hong Kong action cinema, and any movie with Elizabeth Taylor. He is the author of the book On the Art of the Cinema. In 1978, on Kim's orders, South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his actress wife Choi Eun-hee were kidnapped in order to build a North Korean film industry. In 2006 he was involved in the production of the Juche-based movie Diary of a Girl Student – depicting the life of a girl whose parents are scientists – with a KCNA news report stating that Kim "improved its script and guided its production".

Kim reportedly also enjoys basketball. Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ended her summit with Kim by presenting him with a basketball signed by NBA legend Michael Jordan. Also an apparent golfer, North Korean state media reports that Kim routinely shoots three or four holes-in-one per round. His official biography also claims Kim has composed six operas and enjoys staging elaborate musicals. Kim also refers to himself as an Internet expert.

Defectors claim that Kim has 17 different palaces and residences, including a private resort near Paektu Mountain, a seaside lodge in the city of Wonsan, and a palace complex northeast of Pyongyang surrounded with multiple fence lines, bunkers, and anti-aircraft batteries.

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North Korea

Coat of arms of North Korea

North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) (Hangul: 조선민주주의인민공화국, Hanja: 朝鮮民主主義人民共和國), is a state in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The border between North Korea and South Korea is called the Korean Demilitarized Zone. The Amnok River is the border between North Korea and China. The Tumen River in the extreme north-east is the border with Russia.

The peninsula was governed by the Korean Empire until it was occupied by Japan following the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. It was divided into Soviet and U.S. occupied zones in 1945, following the end of World War II. North Korea refused to participate in a United Nations-supervised election held in the south in 1948, and this led to the creation of separate Korean governments for the two occupation zones. Both North and South Korea claim sovereignty over the entire peninsula, and are officially still at war with each other, although both were accepted as members of the UN in 1991.

North Korea is a one party state under a united front led by the Korean Workers' Party. The country's government styles itself as following the Juche ideology of self-reliance, developed by Kim Il-sung, the country's former leader. Juche became the official state ideology in 1972. Though nominally a socialist republic, it is widely considered by the outside world to be a de facto totalitarian Stalinist dictatorship. The current leader is Kim Jong-il, the late president Kim Il-sung's son.

North Korea occupies the northern portion of the Korean Peninsula, covering an area of 120,540 square kilometres (46,541 sq mi). North Korea shares land borders with People's Republic of China and Russia to the north, and borders South Korea along the Korean Demilitarized Zone. To its west are the Yellow Sea and Korea Bay, and to its east lies Japan across the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea). The highest point in North Korea is Paektu-san Mountain at 2,744 metres (9,003 ft). The longest river is the Amnok River which flows for 790 kilometres (491 mi).

North Korea's climate is relatively temperate, with precipitation heavier in summer during a short rainy season called changma, and winters that can be bitterly cold. On August 7, 2007, the most devastating floods in 40 years caused the North Korean Government to ask for international help. NGOs, such as the Red Cross, asked people to raise funds because they feared a humanitarian catastrophe.

The capital and largest city is Pyongyang; other major cities include Kaesong in the south, Sinuiju in the northwest, Wonsan and Hamhung in the east and Chongjin in the northeast.

North Korea is a self-described Juche (self-reliant) state with a pronounced cult of personality organized around Kim Il-sung (the founder of North Korea and the country's first and only president) and his son and heir, Kim Jong-il. Following Kim Il-sung's death in 1994, he was not replaced but instead received the designation of "Eternal President", and was entombed in the vast Kumsusan Memorial Palace in central Pyongyang.

Although the active position of president has been abolished in deference to the memory of Kim Il-sung, the de facto head of state is Kim Jong-il, who is Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea. The legislature of North Korea is the Supreme People's Assembly, currently led by President Kim Yong-nam. The other senior government figure is Premier Kim Yong-il.

North Korea is a single-party state. The governing party is the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, a coalition of the Workers' Party of Korea and two other smaller parties, the Korean Social Democratic Party and the Chondoist Chongu Party. These parties nominate all candidates for office and hold all seats in the Supreme People's Assembly.

Multiple international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, accuse North Korea of having one of the worst human rights records of any nation. North Koreans have been referred to as "some of the world's most brutalized people", due to the severe restrictions placed on their political and economic freedoms. North Korean defectors have testified to the existence of prison and detention camps with an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 inmates (about 0.85% of the population), and have reported torture, starvation, rape, murder, medical experimentation, forced labour, and forced abortions. There is a national mandated dress code.

The system changed slightly at the end of 1990s, when population growth became very low. In many cases, where capital punishment was de facto, it was replaced by less severe punishments. Bribery became prevalent throughout the country. For example, years ago just listening to South Korean radio could result in capital punishment. However, many North Koreans now illegally wear clothes of South Korean origin, listen to Southern music, watch South Korean videotapes and even receive Southern broadcasts.

Since the ceasefire of the Korean War in 1953 the relations between the North Korean government and South Korea, European Union, Canada, the United States, and Japan have remained tense. Fighting was halted in the ceasefire, but both Koreas are still technically at war. Both North and South Korea signed the June 15th North-South Joint Declaration in 2000, in which both sides made promises to seek out a peaceful reunification. Additionally, on October 4, 2007, the leaders of North and South Korea pledged to hold summit talks to officially declare the war over and reaffirmed the principle of mutual non-aggression.

In 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush labelled North Korea part of an "axis of evil" and an "outpost of tyranny". The highest-level contact the government has had with the United States was with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who made a visit to Pyongyang in 2000, but the two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations. By 2006, approximately 37,000 American soldiers remained in South Korea, with plans to reduce the number to 25,000 by 2008. Kim Jong-il has privately stated his acceptance of U.S. troops on the peninsula, even after a possible reunification. Publicly, North Korea strongly demands the removal of American troops from Korea (see North Korea-United States relations).

North Korea has long maintained close relations with the People's Republic of China and Russia. The fall of communism in eastern Europe in 1989, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, resulted in a devastating drop in aid to North Korea from Russia, although China continues to provide substantial assistance. North Korea continues to have strong ties with its socialist southeast Asian allies in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. North Korea has started installing a concrete and barbed wire fence on its northern border, in response to China's wishing to curb refugees fleeing from North Korea. Previously the shared border with China and North Korea had only been lightly patrolled.

As a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program, the Six-party talks were established to find a peaceful solution to the growing unrest between the two Korean governments, the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China, Japan, and the United States.

On July 17, 2007, United Nations inspectors verified the shutdown of five North Korean nuclear facilities, according to the February 2007 agreement.

On October 4, 2007, South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il signed an 8-point peace agreement, on issues of permanent peace, high-level talks, economic cooperation, renewal of train, highway and air travel, and a joint Olympic cheering squad.

The United States and South Korea had designated the North as a state sponsor of terrorism. The 1983 bombing that killed members of the South Korean government and the 1987 destruction of a South Korean airliner have been attributed to North Korea. The DPRK has also admitted responsibility for the kidnap of 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s: five of whom were returned to Japan in 2002. On October 11, 2008, the United States removed North Korea from its list of states that sponsor terrorism.

Kim Jong-il is the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army and Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea. The Korean People's Army (KPA) is the name for the collective armed personnel of the North Korean military. The army has four branches: Ground Force, Naval Force, Air Force, and the Civil Securities Force.

According to the U.S. Department of State, North Korea has the fourth-largest military in the world, at an estimated 1.21 million armed personnel, with about 20% of men aged 17-54 in the regular armed forces. North Korea has the highest percentage of military personnel per capita of any nation in the world, with approximately 40 enlisted soldiers per 1,000 citizens. Military strategy is designed for insertion of agents and sabotage behind enemy lines in wartime, with much of the KPA's forces deployed along the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone.

On October 9, 2006, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test. The blast was smaller than expected and U.S. officials suggested that it may have been an unsuccessful test or a partially successful fizzle. North Korea has previously stated that it has produced nuclear weapons and according to U.S. intelligence and military officials it has produced, or has the capability to produce, up to six or seven such devices.

On March 17, 2007, North Korea told delegates at international nuclear talks it would begin shut down preparations for its main nuclear facility. This was later confirmed on July 14, 2007 as International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors observed the initial shut-down phases of the currently operating 5 MW Yongbyon nuclear reactor, despite there being no official time line declared. In return, the reclusive nation has received 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil shipped from South Korea. Once the old small nuclear reactor is permanently shut down, North Korea will receive the equivalent of 950,000 tons of fuel oil when the six-nation talks reconvene. Following breakthrough talks held in September 2007, aimed at hastening the end of North Korea's nuclear program, North Korea was to "disable some part of its nuclear facilities" by the end of 2007, according to the US Assistant Secretary of State.

The details of such an agreement are due to be worked out in a session held in the People's Republic of China which will involve South Korea, China, Russia and Japan. Terms for the agreement have thus far not been disclosed, nor has it been disclosed what offer was made on the United States's part in exchange. North Korea, however, has already been removed from the U.S list of state sponsors of terrorism.

On June 27, 2008, North Korea destroyed a water cooling tower at its nuclear facility in Yongbyon. It has been reported that without the cooling tower, North Korea cannot create plutonium, though The New York Times reported that "the tower is a technically insignificant structure, relatively easy to rebuild." The implosion is being hailed as a symbolic way of showing that North Korea is committed to ending its nuclear program.

It was reported on January 17, 2009, that North Korea had weaponized around thirty kilograms of plutonium. Also, a U.S. scholar visiting North Korea around that time was informed by Pyongyang that there was enough plutonium to sustain four or five nuclear bombs.

On April 5, 2009, North Korea launched a rocket over Japan that landed in the Pacfic Ocean, an act that defied the United Nations sanctions . Although North Korea insists that it was a communications satellite launch, most observers  believe that it was actually a long-range missile test. An emergency UN  meeting has been planned for April 6, 2009.

North Korea's isolation policy means that international trade is highly restricted, hampering a significant potential for economic growth. Nonetheless, due to its strategic location in East Asia connecting four major economies and having a cheap, young and skilled workforce, the North Korean economy could grow to 6-7% annually "with the right incentives and reform measures".

Until 1998, the United Nations published HDI and GDP per capita figures for North Korea, which stood at a medium level of human development at 0.766 (ranked 75th) and a GDP per capita of $4,058.

The dominant sector in the North Korean economy is industry (43.1%), followed by services (33.6%) and agriculture (23.6%). Major industries include military products, machine building, electric power, chemicals, mining, metallurgy, textiles, food processing and tourism.

North Korea is currently one of the world's top ten producers of fresh fruit and the 15th largest producer of apples in the world. It has substantial natural resources and is the world's 18th largest producer of iron and zinc, having the 22nd largest coal reserves in the world. It is also the 15th largest fluorite producer and 12th largest producer of copper and salt in Asia. Other major natural resources in production include lead, tungsten, graphite, magnesite, gold, pyrites, fluorspar and hydropower.

In the 1990s North Korea faced significant economic disruptions, including a series of natural disasters, economic mismanagement, serious fertilizer shortages, and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. These resulted in a shortfall of staple grain output of more than 1 million tons from what the country needs to meet internationally-accepted minimum dietary requirements. The North Korean famine known as "Arduous March" resulted in the deaths of between 300,000 and 800,000 North Koreans per year during the three year famine, peaking in 1997, with 2.0 million total being "the highest possible estimate." The deaths were most likely caused by famine-related illnesses such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea rather than starvation.

In 2006, Amnesty International reported that a national nutrition survey conducted by the North Korean government, the World Food Programme, and UNICEF found that 7 percent of children were severely malnourished; 37 percent were chronically malnourished; 23.4 percent were underweight; and one in three mothers was malnourished and anaemic as the result of the lingering effect of the famine. The inflation caused by some of the 2002 economic reforms, including the Songun or "Military-first" policy, was cited for creating the increased price of basic foods.

The history of Japanese assistance to North Korea has been marked with unrest; from a large pro-Pyongyang community of Koreans in Japan to public outrage over the 1998 North Korean missile launch and revelations regarding the abduction of Japanese citizens. In June 1995 an agreement was reached that the two countries would act jointly. South Korea would provide 150,000 MT of grain in unmarked bags, and Japan would provide 150,000 MT gratis and another 150,000 MT on concessional terms. In October 1995 and January 1996, North Korea again approached Japan for assistance. On these two occasions, both of which came at crucial moments in the evolution of the famine, opposition from both South Korea and domestic political sources quashed the deals. Beginning in 1997, the U.S. began shipping food aid to North Korea through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to combat the famine. Shipments peaked in 1999 at nearly 700,000 tons making the U.S. the largest foreign aid donor to the country at the time. Under the Bush Administration, aid was drastically reduced year after year from 350,000 tons in 2001 to 40,000 in 2004. The Bush Administration took criticism for using "food as a weapon" during talks over the North's nuclear weapons program, but insisted the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) criteria were the same for all countries and the situation in North Korea had "improved significantly since its collapse in the mid-1990s." Agricultural production had increased from about 2.7 million metric tons in 1997 to 4.2 million metric tons in 2004.

China, Canada, and South Korea remain the largest donors of food aid to North Korea. The U.S. objects to this manner of donating food due to lack of oversight. In 2005, China and South Korea combined to provide 1 million tons of food aid, each contributing half. In addition to food aid, China reportedly provides an estimated 80 to 90 percent of North Korea's oil imports at "friendly prices" that are sharply lower than the world market price.

On September 19, 2005, North Korea was promised fuel aid and various other non-food incentives from South Korea, the U.S., Japan, Russia, and China in exchange for abandoning its nuclear weapons program and rejoining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Providing food in exchange for abandoning weapons programs has historically been avoided by the U.S. so as not to be perceived as "using food as a weapon". Humanitarian aid from North Korea's neighbors has been cut off at times to provoke North Korea to resume boycotted talks, such as South Korea's "postponed consideration" of 500,000 tons of rice for the North in 2006 but the idea of providing food as a clear incentive (as opposed to resuming "general humanitarian aid") has been avoided. There have also been aid disruptions due to widespread theft of railroad cars used by mainland China to deliver food relief.

In July 2002, North Korea started experimenting with capitalism in the Kaesong Industrial Region. A small number of other areas have been designated as Special Administrative Regions, including Sinŭiju along the China-North Korea border. China and South Korea are the biggest trade partners of North Korea, with trade with China increasing 15% to US$1.6 billion in 2005, and trade with South Korea increasing 50% to over 1 billion for the first time in 2005. It is reported that the number of mobile phones in Pyongyang rose from only 3,000 in 2002 to approximately 20,000 during 2004. As of June 2004, however, mobile phones became forbidden again. A small number of capitalistic elements are gradually spreading from the trial area, including a number of advertising billboards along certain highways. Recent visitors have reported that the number of open-air farmers' markets has increased in Kaesong and Pyongyang, as well as along the China-North Korea border, bypassing the food rationing system.

In a 2003 event dubbed the "Pong Su incident", a North Korean cargo ship allegedly attempting to smuggle heroin into Australia was seized by Australian officials, strengthening Australian and United States' suspicions that Pyongyang engages in international drug smuggling. The North Korean government denied any involvement.

Tourism in North Korea is organized by the state owned Tourism Organisation ("Ryohaengsa"). Every group of travelers as well as individual tourist/visitors are permanently accompanied by one or two "guides" who normally speak the mother tongue of the tourist. While tourism has increased over the last few years, tourists from Western countries remain few. The majority of the tourists that do go come from China and Japan. For citizens of the US and South Korea it is practically impossible to obtain a visa for North Korea. Exceptions for US citizens are made for the yearly Arirang Festival.

In the area of the Kŭmgangsan-mountains, the company Hyundai established and operates a special Tourist area. Traveling to this area is also possible for South Koreans and US citizens, but only in organized groups from South Korea. A special administrative region known as the Kŭmgangsan Tourist Region exists for this purpose. This has been cancelled because of a death of a South Korean woman.

The media of North Korea is one of the most strictly controlled in the world. As a result, information is tightly controlled both into and out of North Korea. The constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press; however, the government prohibits the exercise of these rights in practice. In its 2008 report, Reporters Without Borders classified the media environment in North Korea as 172 out of 173, only above that of Eritrea.

Only news that favors the regime is permitted, whilst news that covers the economic and political problems in the country, or criticisms of the regime from abroad is not allowed. The media upholds the personality cult of Kim Jong-il, regularly reporting on his daily activities.

There is a mix of local built and imported trolleybuses and trams in urban centers in North Korea. Earlier fleets were obtained in Europe and China, but trade embargo has forced North Korea to build their own vehicles. Railways of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Choson Cul Minzuzui Inmingonghoagug is the only rail operator in North Korea. It has a network of 5,200 km of track with 4,500 km in Standard gauge. There is a small narrow gauge railway in operation in Haeju peninsula. The railway fleet consists of a mix of electric and steam locomotives. Cars are mostly made in North Korea using Soviet designs. There are some locomotives from Imperial Japan, the United States and Europe remaining in use. Second-hand Chinese locomotives (early DF4Bs, BJ Hydraulics, etc.) have also been spotted in active service.

Water transport on the major rivers and along the coasts plays growing role in freight and passenger traffic. Except for the Yalu and Taedong rivers, most of the inland waterways, totaling 2,253 kilometers, are navigable only by small boats. Coastal traffic is heaviest on the eastern seaboard, whose deeper waters can accommodate larger vessels. The major ports are Nampho on the west coast and Rajin, Chongjin, Wonsan, and Hamhung on the east coast. The country's harbor loading capacity in the 1990s was estimated at almost 35 million tons a year. In the early 1990s, North Korea possessed an oceangoing merchant fleet, largely domestically produced, of sixty-eight ships (of at least 1,000 gross-registered tons), totaling 465,801 gross-registered tons (709,442 metric tons deadweight (DWT)), which includes fifty-eight cargo ships and two tankers. There is a continuing investment in upgrading and expanding port facilities, developing transportation--particularly on the Taedong River--and increasing the share of international cargo by domestic vessels.

North Korea's international air connections are limited. There are regularly scheduled flights from the Sunan International Airport--twenty-four kilometers north of Pyongyang--to Moscow, Khabarovsk, Beijing, Macau, Vladivostok, Bangkok, Shenyang, Shenzhen and charter flights from Sunan to Tokyo as well as to East European countries, the Middle East, and Africa. An agreement to initiate a service between Pyongyang and Tokyo was signed in 1990. Internal flights are available between Pyongyang, Hamhung, Wonsan, and Chongjin. All civil aircraft operated by Air Koryo are thirty-four aircraft in 2008, these were purchased from the Soviet Union and Russia. From 1976 to 1978, four Tu-154 jets were added to the small fleet of propeller-driven An-24s afterwards adding four long range Ilyushin Il-62M, three Ilyushin Il-76MD large cargo aircraft and 2 long range Tupolev Tu-204-300's purchased in 2008.

North Korea's population of roughly 23 million is one of the most ethnically and linguistically homogeneous in the world, with very small numbers of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, South Korean, and European expatriate minorities.

According to the CIA World Factbook, North Korea's life expectancy was 72.2 years in 2008, a figure above the world average and higher than its neighbor Russia but slightly below China. Infant mortality stood at 21.86, which is below the world average and lower than more industrialized countries such as Brazil and Romania but slightly higher than China. According to the UNICEF "The State of the world's Children 2003" North Korea appears ranked at the 73rd place, while Brazil and Romania has been ranked at 92nd and 121st place respectly. North Korea's Total fertility rate is relatively low and stood at 2.0 in 2008, comparable to those of the United States and France. The country maintains a high literacy rate of 99%, comparable to most developed countries.

North Korea shares the Korean language with South Korea. There are dialect differences within both Koreas, but the border between North and South does not represent a major linguistic boundary. While prevalent in the South, the adoption of modern terms from foreign languages has been limited in North Korea. Hanja (Chinese characters) are no longer used in North Korea, although still occasionally used in South Korea. Both Koreas share the phonetic writing system called Chosongul in North Korea and Hangul South of the DMZ. The official Romanization differs in the two countries, with North Korea using a slightly modified McCune-Reischauer system, and the South using the Revised Romanization of Korean.

Both Koreas share a Buddhist and Confucian heritage and a recent history of Christian and Cheondoism ("religion of the Heavenly Way") movements. The North Korean constitution states that freedom of religion is permitted. Although North Korea is officially atheist and according to the Western standards of religion — the majority of Korean population could be characterized as irreligious — the cultural influence of such traditional religions as Buddhism and Confucianism still have an effect on North Korean spiritual life.

Nevertheless, Buddhists in North Korea reportedly fared better than other religious groups — particularly Christians, who were said to often face persecution by the authorities, and Buddhists were given limited funding by the government to promote the religion, given that Buddhism played an integral role in traditional Korean culture.

Pyongyang was the center of Christian activity in Korea before the Korean War. Today, four state-sanctioned churches exist, which freedom of religion advocates say are showcases for foreigners. Official government statistics report that there are 10,000 Protestants and 4,000 Roman Catholics in North Korea.

According to a ranking published by Open Doors, an organization that supports persecuted Christians, North Korea is currently the country with the most severe persecution of Christians in the world. Human rights groups such as Amnesty International also have expressed concerns about religious persecution in North Korea.

Education in North Korea is controlled by the government and is compulsory until the secondary level. Compulsory education lasts eleven years, and encompasses one year of preschool, four years of primary education and six years of secondary education. The North Korean School curricula consists of both academic and political subject matter.

Primary schools are known as people's schools and children attend this school from the age of six to nine. They are later enrolled in either a regular secondary school or a special secondary school, depending on their specialities. They enter secondary school at the age of ten and leave when they are sixteen.

Higher education is not compulsory in North Korea. It is composed of two systems: academic higher education and higher education for continuing education. The academic higher education system includes three kinds of institutions: universities, professional schools, and technical schools. Graduate schools for master and doctoral level studies are attached to universities, and are for students who want to continue their education. There are several universities in North Korea, of which the most famous one is the Kim Il-sung University.

North Korea is one of the most literate countries in the world, with a literacy rate of 99% for adults.

Health care and medical treatment is free in North Korea. North Korea spends 3% of its gross domestic product on health care. Its healthcare system has been in a steep decline since the 1990s due to natural disasters, economic problems, and food and energy shortages. Many hospitals and clinics in North Korea lack essential medicines and equipment, running water and electricity.

Almost 100% of the population has access to water and sanitation, but it is not completely potable. Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and hepatitis B are considered to be endemic to the country.

According to 2008 estimates, North Korea had the 117th highest life expectancy of any country in the world, with an average life expectancy of 72.2 years at birth. North Korea has a death rate of 7.29 deaths per 1,000 people.

Among other health problems, many North Korean citizens suffer from the after effects of malnutrition, caused by famines related to the failure of its food distribution program and military first policy. A 1998 United Nations (UN) World Food Program report revealed that 60% of children suffered from malnutrition, and 16% percent were acutely malnourished. As a result, those who suffered during the disaster have ongoing health problems.

There is a vast cult of personality around Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il and much of North Korea's literature, popular music, theater, and film glorify the two men.

A popular event in North Korea is the Mass Games. The most recent and largest Mass Games was called "Arirang". It was performed six nights a week for two months, and involved over 100,000 performers. Attendees to this event in recent years report that the anti-West sentiments have been toned down compared to previous performances. The Mass Games involve performances of dance, gymnastic, and choreographic routines which celebrate the history of North Korea and the Workers' Party Revolution. The Mass Games are held in Pyongyang at various venues (varying according to the scale of the Games in a particular year) including the May Day Stadium.

Culture is officially protected by the North Korean government. Large buildings committed to culture have been built, such as the People's Palace of Culture or the Grand People's Palace of Studies, both in Pyongyang. Outside the capital, there's a major theatre in Hamhung and in every city there are State-run theatres and stadiums.

Korean culture came under attack during the Japanese rule from 1910-1945. Japan enforced a cultural assimilation policy. Koreans were forced to learn and speak Japanese, adopt the Japanese family name system and Shinto religion, and forbidden to write or speak the Korean language in schools, businesses, or public places. In addition, the Japanese altered or destroyed various Korean monuments including Gyeongbok Palace and documents which portrayed the Japanese in a negative light were revised.

In July 2004, the Complex of Goguryeo Tombs became the first site in the country to be included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

For dependent and other territories, see Dependent territory.

1 Partly or significantly in Europe.  2 The Republic of China (Taiwan) is not officially recognized by the United Nations; see Political status of Taiwan. 3 Partly or significantly in Africa.  4 Partly or wholly reckoned in Oceania.

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Kim Jong-Il (athlete)

Kim Jong-Il, sometimes spelled Kim Yong-Il (born 11 September 1962) is a retired South Korean long jumper, best known for winning two gold medals at the Asian Games. He also competed in the Olympics twice, and was the first Korean track and field athlete to have made a final round at the Olympics. His personal best jump was 8.00 metres, achieved in August 1988 in Seoul. After retiring as an active athlete, he turned to a career in coaching and academics.

Kim Jong-Il was born on 11 September 1962, and is a native of Jincheon. He became a member of the national track and field team in 1979, and first made his mark internationally by winning the gold medal in long jump at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi. His jump of 7.94 metres was the second best Asian Games result of all times, only behind T.C. Yohannan's winning jump of 8.07 metres in 1974. Kim beat second-placed Liu Yuhuang with a slim margin of five centimetres, and third-placed Junichi Usui with seven centimetres.

Two years later, Kim participated in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Entering the qualifying round at the long jump competition, where one would need to finish among the top twelve or achieve at least 7.90 metres to reach the final, Kim began his competition with a non-valid jump. His second jump measured 7.67 metres, in a head wind of 2.5 m/s, which was not enough to progress. However, with his final qualifying jump measuring 7.87 metres, he finished ninth in total, thus making it to the finals—together with fellow Asians Junichi Usui (8.02 m) and Liu Yuhuang (7.83 m). In the final round, Kim opened with jumps of 7.76 and 7.81 metres. The latter jump ranked him in eighth place, the threshold necessary to get a further three jumps after the first three. Failing to capitalize on this opportunity, with two jumps of 7.77 and 7.59 as well as two fouls he remained in eighth place. Nonetheless, he was the first Korean track and field athlete to have made a final round at the Olympics.

In January 1985, Kim competed at the inaugural World Indoor Games in Paris. Here, he finished in eleventh place with 7.31 metres. Only four days earlier he had jumped 7.84 metres in a meet in Osaka. In 1986, Kim would try to defend his gold medal in the 1986 Asian Games, which was this time staged in Seoul in his home country. Kim again jumped 7.94 metres, which was enough to win the gold medal, two centimetres ahead of Junichi Usui and fourteen ahead of Chen Zunrong. Kim also entered as a part of the South Korean 4 x 100 metres relay team, and eventually won a bronze medal. In 1986 to 1987 he had lived in the United States to train with the Houston Cougars under the University of Houston.

In August 1988, Kim achieved his lifetime best result, jumping 8.00 metres in a pre-Olympic meet in Seoul. The Olympic Games were staged in the same city the next month. Kim once again entered in the long jump competition. His series of 7.36, 7.68 and 7.70 metres placed him sixteenth in total, thus he failed to reach the final round this time. The last qualifier for the final was 7.77 metres; the only Asian athlete who reached the final round was Chinese Pang Yan. Among those who failed to reach the final were Chen Zunrong, Junichi Usui (with three fouls) as well as two Canadians who would become 1996 Olympic champions in the relay: Bruny Surin and Glenroy Gilbert.

Kim then participated without success at the 1989 World Indoor Championships. His last major international competition was the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing. Here, he placed fourth in the long jump.

Kim took an undergraduate degree in physical education at Dong-A University in 1986. Having later relocated to the United States, he took the master's degree at the Washington State University in 1993. He remained there to complete his doctor's thesis in 1996. In the 1997-98 academic year, Kim was employed at the Calvin College, where he doubled as professor in the Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport department as well as head coach of the men's track and field team. In 2002 he also took over the post as head coach for the women's team. Writes Calvin College, Kim's "coaching philosophy centers on educating and preparing Calvin's track and field student-athletes for Christian service and leadership throughout God's world".

His honours as a coach include the selection as NCAA Division III National Women's Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2003. In 2003 he was also named Men's Coach of the Year; he was the first coach to win both awards in the same year.

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Song to General Kim Jong-il

The Song of General Kim Jong-il is a marching song from North Korea. The song praises its current leader, Kim Jong-il, as a part of his cult of personality. During the presidency of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il helped to run his father's own personality cult, composing songs and writing books. One such famous song was Song of General Kim Il-sung, which is usually played wherever possible. At the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, now the leader of North Korea, had his own cult. Although the Song of General Kim Jong-il is not as widely popular as the Song of General Kim Il-sung (nor was his cult as large as his father's), it is also played regularly in North Korea.

According to North Korean sources, their satellite Kwangmyongsong-2, supposedly launched in a test on 5 April 2009, is broadcasting this song among other data.

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Source : Wikipedia