The newly released biography, ‘The Great Successor: The Secret Rise and Rule of Kim Jong Un’ by the Washington Post’s Anna Fifield, claims the reclusive childhood and teenage years of Kim may have paved the way for his tyrannical rule of the nuclear-armed hermit kingdom.
Kim reputedly spent years in a luxury compound in the capital Pyongyang, carefully coddled from the hardships of everyday North Koreans, with his father ensuring all his wishes and wants were fulfilled, including the latest Super Mario video games, pinball machines and other entertainment devices, the Telegraph reported.
“The boy grew up thinking he was special,” the author of the book wrote. Kenji Fujimoto, a Japanese chef who worked for years for the Kim family, said that then six-year-old Kim once looked down on him and refused to shake his hand as if saying “You abhorrent Japanese.”
When Kim turned 12 in 1996, he was sent to a prestigious private school in Bern, Switzerland where he lived with a fake identity, allowing him to escape the scrutiny of any authorities.
But his former classmates told the author of the book that rather than being an exceptional child, Kim lacked academic vigor and had a quick temper.
The teenage Kim often lashed out against his peers, kicking them in the shins and even spitting on them if they spoke in German. He himself struggled with the language.
Despite being subjected to a world-class education and European culture, Kim didn’t embrace the progressive views on freedom or democracy and instead concluded that “if he were to live in the outside world, he would have been entirely unremarkable. A nobody,” the author wrote in POLITICO.
“Far from persuading him to change his country, these years would have shown him the necessity of perpetuating the system that had turned him, his father and grandfather into deities,” she added.
The talks between the U.S. and North Korea have been halted following a failed February summit that was abruptly ended by President Trump, who said Kim wanted sanctions lifted prior any material changes to the country’s nuclear program.
The U.S. accused last week North Korea of breaching U.N. sanctions on the import of refined petroleum via illegal ship-to-ship transfers — a move that marks a contrast to the warmer rhetoric directed at the North Korean regime coming from the White House.
At the same time, Trump also said he received “a beautiful letter” from Kim and shrugged off a Wall Street Journal report that Kim’s half-brother was a CIA source, telling reporters he would tell Kim that he “would not let that happen under my auspices.”
yet the U.S. has been questioning North Korea’s adherence to U.N. demands for a while. National Security Adviser John Bolton said last month that there was “no doubt” that recent short-term missile launches by the country were in violation of U.S. Security Council resolutions.
“U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from firing any ballistic missiles,” Bolton told reporters in Tokyo. “In terms of violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, there is no doubt about that.”
Adam Shaw contributed to this report.