How A Shy Boy From North Korea Became The World's Scariest Dictator

nuclear kim jong un

For the past 50 years, the world has grown used to crazy threats from North Korea that don’t lead anywhere.

But with young and untested Kim Jong-un in charge of a nuclear arsenal, no one knows what will happen next.

Kim took over from his dad in 2010. Based on what we know, he’s quite a maverick.

On January 8 in 1982 or 1983 or 1984, Kim Jong-un was born.

His parents were future North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and his consort, Ko Young-hee.

He had an older brother named Kim Jong-chul and would later have a younger sister named Kim Yo-jong.

While Jong-un's official birth year is 1982, various reports suggest that the year was changed for symbolic reasons, including that it was the 100 years after the birth of Kim Il-sung and 70 years after the birth of Jong-il.

Jong-un (pictured here with his mother) lived at home as a child.

During this period, North Korea was ruled by 'Great Leader' Kim Il-sung.

While Jong-il was the heir apparent, Jong-un's path to command was far less certain.

Then it was off to Switzerland to attend boarding school.

Jong-un loved basketball and idolized Michael Jordan

In a school production of the hit American musical 'Grease,' young Kim enjoyed singing 'Summer Nights' and 'You're the One That I Want,' according to The Sun.

His role required slicked-back hair and a leather jacket as a member of the T-Birds, one of the 'good gangs.'

After school in Switzerland, he returned home for military schooling

Upon his return to North Korea, Jong-un attended Kim Il-sung Military University with his older brother. Some reports say both started to attend their father's military field inspections around 2007.

While his father faced death, Jong-un was rapidly promoted up the chain of political and military leadership, despite having little experience in either.

He was made a four-star general, deputy chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party, and a member of the Central Committee, according to the BBC.

'Footsteps' looks and sounds like propaganda songs from the Soviet Union.

Calling the people to follow in 'Our Admiral Kim's footsteps,' here's a sampling of the lyrics:

'Footsteps, Footsteps ... spreading out further the sound of a brilliant future ahead ... tramp, tramp, tramp, ah, footsteps.'

Jong-il died of a heart attack on Dec. 17, 2011, the young Jong-un inherited the world's fourth-largest military, a nuclear arsenal, and absolute control over North Korea.

Around 30 years old, he's the youngest head of state in the world.

Kim bears a clear resemblance to his grandfather Kim Il-sung in appearance, haircut, and his mannerisms.

rumours had circulated that Kim Jong-un had received plastic surgery to enhance the resemblance even further, although the North finally responded and called the allegations 'sordid hackwork by rubbish media.'

'The false report ... released by enemies is a hideous criminal act which the party, state, army and people can never tolerate,' said official Korean Central News Agency.

Some believe Kim's aunt and uncle may actually be calling the shots

Among Kim's most trusted advisers are his aunt Kim Kyong-Hui and her husband Jang Sung-Taek, both 66.

The couple was reportedly ordered by Jong-il to control the country's military and help the young leader consolidate his position while he gains more experience.

At a recent meeting of the DPRK Workers' Party, both were photographed sitting close by. Their most important job, it seems, is to push his role as a powerful figure among some generals who do not trust him, according to The Telegraph.

He's married to a former cheerleader and may have two kids

Leaders in the Hermit Kingdom are often very secretive when it comes to their significant others, but Jong-un often has his wife join him and allows photographs.

North Korean media revealed in July he was married to Ri Sol-ju -- a former cheerleader and singer -- but no one knows exactly when they were married, according to NBC News.

South Korean intelligence believe the couple probably married in 2009 and already had one child. There are also rumours that Sol-ju gave birth to a child late last year, with many believing it was a girl.

Jong-un lived out a childhood fantasy when former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman visited.

The entire family are apparently huge Bulls fans.

His father owned a video library of 'practically every game Michael Jordan played for the Chicago Bulls.' Jong-il tried unsuccessfully to get Jordan to visit in 2001.

Jong-un had tons of Jordan posters as a kid. Brother Jong-chol was photographed as a child wearing a Bulls Jersey (#91 -- Rodman).

But recently, things haven't been going so well.

Recently he was reportedly the target of an assassination attempt. South Korean intelligence believes the young leader was targeted by 'disgruntled people inside the North' after he demoted a four-star general which resulted in a power struggle.

Perhaps as a means of reasserting control, Jong-un has become extremely belligerent, shutting down all links with South Korea and threatening thermonuclear war against his neighbour and the United States.

His father and grandfather used to make these threats all the time without following through.

At this point most analysts think Jong-un will follow through with a minor attack -- something to back up his threats without setting off a horrifying war which North Korea would most likely lose.

So what's so bad about North Korea anyway? Let's start with the gulag.

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