December 19th, 2011
11:13 AM ET

Timeline: Kim Jong Il's life

Kim Jong Il, North Korea's longtime leader, died of a heart attack on Saturday, but state news outlets did not report his death until Monday. His life, like his death, was shrouded in mystery and details are elusive, but here are some main points about the man regarded as one of the world's most repressive leaders.

* July 8, 1994 – December 17, 2011 – Leader of Democratic People's Republic of Korea, a communist state with an authoritarian regime.

* Sometimes called the "Dear Leader," a name he gave himself.

* His height is variously reported as 5'3" or 5'4".

* Birth: February 16, 1942 (although some sources say 1941). Scholars and historians believe he was born in Russia, but that his birthplace has been altered in many sources to Mt. Paektu because legend has it that this is where Korea was founded.
* Death: December 17, 2011
* Parents: Kim Il Sung, president of North Korea and Kim Jung Sook
* Spouse: Kim Ok (from July 2006); Ko Yong Hee (died August 2004); Kim Yong Sook; Sung Hye-Rim (mistress)
* Children: with Ko Young Hee - Jong-chul and Jung-un (sons); with Sung Hye-Rim - Sul Song (daughter) and Jong-nam (son)
* Education: 1960 – 1963 or 1964 – Kim Il Sung University, Pyongyang, degree in political economy, also attended aviation school in East Germany.

* 1973 – Is elected to the Central Committee of the Korean Workers' Party and is appointed party secretary.

* 1980s – 1990s – Holds important positions on the Central Committee, in the Politburo and in the Party Secretariat.

* 1991 – Named Commander in Chief of North Korea's military.

* July 8, 1994 – Becomes the leader of North Korea when his father dies.

* October 8, 1997 – Is named leader of the Worker's Party of Korea.

* September 1998 – Is re-elected as chairman of the National Defense Commission, the nation's highest position. (The term "president" is reserved for his late father)

* May 2000 – Makes a secret visit to China.

* June 2000 – Meets with South Korean leader Kim Dae Jung, the first meeting between the leaders of the two countries.

* October 2000 – U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visits North Korea, the first U.S. Secretary of State to do so.

* January 10, 2003 – North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

* June 17, 2005 – Personally meets with Chung Dong Young, South Korean Unification Minister, to discuss the possibility of renewed six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

* August – October 2005 – Celebrates 60th anniversary of the Workers' Party and his family rule of the country, provides televisions to soldiers and temporary nighttime increased electricity to the citizens of Pyongyang. More foreigners and South Koreans were allowed to visit the capital city and the cultural festival of Arirang was held.

* October 2-4, 2007 – Roh Moo Hyun, President of South Korea, meets with Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang.

* December 5, 2007 – Receives a personal letter from U.S. President George W. Bush requesting compliance with North Korea's pledge to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs. The letter, written and hand-signed by Bush, is delivered by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, and it provides additional encouragement for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program, a pledge North Korea made after the six-party talks held in Geneva earlier in the year.

* September 9, 2008 – According to U.S. and South Korean intelligence, Kim Jong Il has been suffering from severe health problems and may have had a stroke.

* January 2009 – Reports from South Korea say Kim Jong Il plans on naming as successor Kim Jong Un, his third and youngest son.

* April 9, 2009 – Is re-elected for third term as chairman of the National Defense Commission, the nation's highest position.

* August 4, 2009 – Meets with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, pardons and releases captured American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling.

* January 7, 2010 – North Korea declares the birthday of Kim Jong Un, youngest son of Kim Jong Il, to be a national holiday. Kim Jong Un is believed to be in his 20s and Kim Jong Il's probable successor.

* September 27-29, 2010 – Is re-elected as general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea. He promotes both his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, and his sister, Kim Kyong Hui, to the rank of general. Kim Jong Un is also named as vice chairman of the party's central military commission.

* August 20, 2011 – Kim Jong Il travels to eastern Russia. He meets with President Dmitry Medvedev in Buryatia on August 24.

* December 17, 2011 – Dies at the age of 69, reportedly of a heart attack.

Filed under: North Korea • World
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    Where's the precise date that he turned into a little sh!t?
    They left that date out of the timeline.

    December 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobNAlabama

      Now that's funny!

      December 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO

    He was "born" that way.

    December 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bobcat ( in a hat )

    February 16, 1942 ( although some sources say 1941 )

    December 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    @the two of yous:
    I was thinking that same thing, but I didn't write it...

    December 19, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |

    They are forgetting the night of December 24, 1991, when I attempted to rip his throat out, but I was thwarted by his security detail.

    December 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    Kim jong-un, his son is as unkowable a person as his father. Hard to predict where he takes his country. Would he be any different watching the world reacting to his father while growing up?

    December 19, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BobNAlabama

    This guy was a cartoon.

    December 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Crap your hands!

    If you ronery and you know it, crap your hands!

    December 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    Crap your own hands!
    I'll *clap* mine! 😉

    December 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sorensen

    Much too much publicity for this little piece of crap.

    December 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    Now, that I can agree with, Sorenson!

    December 19, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chillipepper

    Did you the videos where they make people group up and cry? So fake. On one video one guy in a classroom was laughing hard while a guy behind was laughing at the guy who was laughing. It's just not human nature to begin with where large groups of people cry uncontrollable for someone, let alone a cruel oppresive dictator

    December 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. whiterun gaurd

    I was supposed to be the next successor to korea...until I took an arrow to the knee.

    December 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. s kel

    did his(kims) hair stylist kill himself or did he get hired by donald trump as a backup??

    December 19, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    They probably don't show the armed soldiers pointing their guns at them if they *don't* cry...and we're supposed to believe this propaganda...why?

    And no, I have no proof that there's armed guards there; it's supposition.

    December 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
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