Kim Kyong-hui (Hangul: 김경희; Hanja: 金敬姬;
born 30 May 1946) is the aunt of current North Korean leader, Kim
Jong-un. She is the daughter of the founding North Korean leader Kim
Il-sung and the sister of the late leader Kim Jong-il. She currently
serves as Secretary for Organization of the Workers' Party of Korea.
An important member of Kim Jong-il's inner circle of trusted friends
and advisors, she was director of the WPK Light Industry Department
from 1988 to 2012. Her husband was Jang Sung-taek, who was executed
in December 2013 in Pyongyang, after being charged with treason and
1 Early life and education
2 Personal life
4 Execution of Jang Sung-taek
5 Rumours about ill health and death
6 See also
Early life and education
An idealized portrait of
Kim Kyong-hui with her mother Kim Jong-suk,
Kim Il-sung and brother Kim Jong-il
Kim Kyong-hui was born in
Pyongyang on 30 May 1946, the youngest child
Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-suk. Her birth mother died when she was
four. After her father remarried, she was raised by various surrogates
away from the family.
After a brief period spent in Jilin Province,
China due to the Korean
War, she returned to
Pyongyang with her brother, Kim Jong-il. She
Kim Il-sung University
Kim Il-sung University in 1963, studying political economy,
where she met her future husband. The couple continued dating
[clarification needed] after he relocated to Wonsan, allegedly because
the Kim family opposed their relationship. The two eventually
married in 1972. She attended the
Kim Il-sung Higher Party School in
1966, and went to study at
Moscow State University
Moscow State University in 1968.[citation
Kim and Jang had a daughter, Jang Kum-song (1977–2006), who lived
overseas in Paris as an international student; she refused an order to
Pyongyang and then reportedly committed suicide in September
2006 due to her parents' opposition to her relationship with her
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
Singapore, as well as the United Nations. She oversaw the placement of
qualified diplomatic personnel during her tenure as International
In 1988, she was promoted to WPK Central Committee member and director
of the Light Industry Department. In 1990, she was elected deputy to
Supreme People's Assembly
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
Jang Sung-taek was apparently purged as well. 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
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, the first woman
North Korea to achieve this military rank. This coincided with
her nephew 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 Kim Jong-un. She was elected member of the WPK
Secretariat and a leading figure of the WPK Organization 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. 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
Choe Thae-bok and Kim Ki Nam, and Director
Kim Yang-gon of
the WPK United Front Department. 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
Kim Kyong-hui opened the first hamburger restaurant in
Execution of Jang Sung-taek
On 8 December 2013, her husband,
Jang Sung-taek was publicly expelled
from the ruling Workers' Party of Korea. Jang was accused of
factionalism, corruption, and a range of misbehaviour that included
affairs with other women. On 13 December, it was reported that
he had been executed for treason.
On 14 December, the
Korean Central News Agency
Korean Central News Agency released a roster of
six top officials appointed to a national committee in charge of
organizing a state funeral for Kim Kuk-tae, a former Workers' Party
official. The roster included the name of Kim Kyong-hui, indicating
she had survived the purge and remained in favour. The
status of Kim Kyong-hui's relationship with Jang had been a subject of
frequent speculation. Analysts believe that Jang and
Kim Kyong-hui had
been estranged. Yoon Sang-hyun, a National Assembly of South Korea
deputy floor leader of the governing Saenuri Party, said that Kim had
been "separated" from Jang and did not oppose his purge.
Rumours about ill health and death
In recent years,
Kim Kyong-hui has been rumored to be either dead or
very ill. According to a report by the
Daily NK in August 2012,
she has suffered from ill health due to alcoholism. It has been
suggested that she has had a fatal stroke or a heart attack.
According to a defector, the alleged stroke came just days after
Jang's execution when
Kim Kyong-hui was on the phone with Kim Jong-un
discussing the killing. Some reports claim she has committed
suicide. According to other reports, she underwent surgery for a brain
tumour in 2013 and was left in a vegetative state. In 2015, an
unnamed source, described as a high-ranking defector, claimed that Kim
Jong-un had ordered
Kim Kyong-hui to be poisoned. In February 2015
the South Korean National Intelligence Service stated she was still
alive. In 2016, historical footage of her was aired on North
Korean television, indicating that she had not been removed from
official history. In 2017, the South Korean Yonhap News Agency
reported that she was alive but receiving medical treatment.
North Korea portal
Politics of North Korea
Women in North Korea
^ Mansourov (2004), p. IV-17
^ Baird (2003), p. 114
^ "North Korean leader's uncle 'executed over corruption'". BBC. 12
December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
^ Koike, Yuriko. (2010) "A ruthless sister risks becoming North
Korea's next ruler". The Daily Star; retrieved 19 September 2010.
^ a b c d "Kim Kyong Hui".
North Korea Leadership Watch.
^ 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 3 March 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2007.
^ McDonald, Mark (27 September 2010). "Kim's Son Elevated Before
Meeting". The New York Times.
^ "North Korea's secretive 'first family'". BBC News. 2013-12-13.
^ Chosun Ilbo, dated 11 February 2010.
^ 2010, 2011 New Year editorials by Rodong Sinmun, Joson Inmingun, and
^ "Happy Meals in Pyongyang?". Radio Free Asia. 15 October 2010.
^ "Jang Song Thaek purge confirmed amid rumors of his execution". NK
News. 9 December 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
^ "Jang Arrested on State Television". Daily NK. South Korea. 9
December 2013. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013.
Retrieved 9 December 2013.
^ Alexandre Mansourov, "North Korea: What Jang's Execution Means for
the Future", 38north.org; 13 December 2013.
^ Alastair Gale, "What
North Korea Said About Jang Song Thaek", Wall
Street Journal, 13 December 2013.
^ a b c Choe Sang-hun, "Kim Jong-un's Aunt Appears to Survive
Husband's Purge", The New York Times, 15 December 2013.
^ Reuters, "Kim Jong-un's aunt retains position of influence after
husband's downfall", 15 December 2013.
^ "North Korean execution 'will not alter trade goals'". BBC News. 15
^ "North Korean leader's influential aunt remains in power after uncle
Jang's execution". Reuters. 15 December 2013.
^ a b Julian Ryall (9 January 2014). "Kim Jong-un's aunt 'in
vegetative state after brain surgery'". Telegraph. Retrieved 12 May
^ "Alcohol A Threat To Kim Guardianship Role", Daily NK, 24 August
^ a b Hancocks, Paula (11 May 2015). "Kim ordered aunt poisoned: N.
Korean defector". CNN. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
^ Karimi, By Faith; Kim, Jung-eun; Kwon, Judy (28 November 2014). "N
Korea source: Leader's aunt died after husband killed". CNN. Retrieved
12 May 2015.
Kim Jong-un aunt is still alive, says South Korean intelligence".
Daily Telegraph. AFP. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February
^ Kim, Myong-song (19 April 2016). "Kim Jong-un's Aunt Reappears in
Baird, Merrily (2003). Kim Chong-il's Erratic Decision-Making and
North Korea's Strategic Culture. In Barry R. Schneider & Jerrold
M. Post (eds.), Thy Enemy: Profiles of Adversary Leaders and Their
Strategic Cultures. USAF Counterproliferation Center: Publications,
Research, & Education, WMD NBC counterproliferation electives
syllabi; retrieved 19 September 2010.
Mansourov, Alexandre. (2004). Inside North Korea's black box:
reversing the optics. The Brookings Institution; retrieved 19
Madden, Michael (2010). Biographical Sketch of Kim Kyong-hui. North
Korea Leadership Watch; retrieved 19 September 2010.
Party political offices
Head of the Organisation and Guidance Department
Select[α] family tree of North Korea's ruling[β] Kim
^ To keep the tree of manageable size, it omits some members, e. g.,
brothers and sisters of Kim Jong-il.
^ Names of Supreme Leaders of the DPRK (and the name of the article
being viewed, if any) are in bold font.
^ Korean names often have a variety of transliterations into English,
which can be confusing. For example, "Kim Jong-chul" may also be
written "Gim Jeong-cheol" or "Kim Jŏng-ch'ŏl" among many other
Korean romanization for more information.
^ Huss, Kan; Frost, Clay. "North Korea's First Family: Mapping the
personal and political drama of the Kim clan". msnbc.com. Retrieved 20
January 2013. (Confirms many, but not all, of the birth and
death years. See individual articles for more references.)
^ Yan, Holly (16 February 2017). "The world's most mysterious family
tree: Kim Jong Un's secretive dynasty is full of drama, death". Design
by Alberto Mier. CNN. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
^ a b c Official biographies of
Kim Jong-suk and
Kim Jong-il give
birth years of 1917 and 1942, respectively.
Kim Ju-ae may have been
born in late 2012 or early 2013.
Kim dynasty of North Korea
Kim Il-sung (1912–1994)
Kim Jong-il (1941–2011)
Kim Jong-un (1984–)
Kim Hyong-jik (Kim Il-sung's father)
Kang Pan-sok (Kim Il-sung's mother)
Kim Jong-suk (Kim Il-sung's first wife, Jong-il's mother)
Kim Yong-ju (Kim Il-sung's brother)
Kim Song-ae (Kim Il-sung's second wife)
Hong Il-chon (Kim Jong-il's first wife, divorced)
Song Hye-rim (Kim Jong-il's first mistress)
Kim Man-il (Kim Jong-il's brother)
Jang Song-thaek (Kim Jong-il's brother-in-law)
Kim Kyong-hui (Kim Jong-il's sister)
Kim Young-sook (Kim Jong-il's wife)
Ko Yong-hui (Kim Jong-il's second mistress, Jong-un's mother)
Kim Pyong-il (Kim Jong-il's half-brother)
Kim Ok (Kim Jong-il's third mistress)
Kim Yo-jong (Kim Jong-un's sister)
Kim Jong-chul (Kim Jong-un's brother)
Kim Sul-song (Kim Jong-un's half-sister)
Kim Jong-nam (Kim Jong-un's half-brother)
Ri Sol-ju (Kim Jong-un's wife)
Kim Ju-ae (Kim Jong-un's daughter)
Kim Han-sol (K