Kim Jong Il’s grandson calls his uncle Kim Jong Eun a ‘dictator’

With hipster glasses, near-perfect English and progressive ideas, Kim Han Sol certainly doesn't seem like a stereotypical North Korean.

In an interview with a Finnish broadcaster, the grandson of Kim Jong Il and nephew of current North Korean leader Kim Jong Eun comes off as a normal, well-adjusted teen who dreams of going back to North Korea to “make things better, make it easier for the people there.”

Kim was born in 1995 in Pyongyang but went to an international school in Macau, where he said he had plenty of friends from both the United States and South Korea -- two nations that are sworn enemies of North Korea. 

"There are laws saying that North and South Koreans shouldn't interact, even outside Korea. Me and my South Korean friends, it was kind of awkward when we first met each other. But sometimes we shared our own stories from back home and realized how similar we are," he said.

The interview was published on YouTube, and the video description says it was conducted by former United Nations undersecretary general Elisabeth Rehn at United World College in Bosnia, where Kim has been studying.

He also said he never met Kim Jong Il, even though he always wanted to. Although he doesn't know why Kim Jong Eun was chosen to succeed Kim Jong Il as leader, he did say his own father was never in the running because he "wasn't interested in politics." He also referred to his uncle repeatedly as a "dictator" in the interview.

Kim said his parents influenced his world view -- his mother was an average North Korean who encouraged him to "live the same lifestyle as ordinary citizens."

"My dad said: 'Forget about your background, and live your life. Understand everything, that there are a lot of people who are hungry,'" Kim said.

The full interview is below, in two parts. It also includes some interesting footage of life inside North Korea.

Part 1:

Part 2:



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read World



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Next Story
Max Fisher · October 19, 2012

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.