Vintage video of Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping's dads on a diplomatic trip in 1983 shows their deep family bond

Xinhua/KCTVA composite photo showing Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping in 2018, and their fathers Kim Jong Il and Xi Zhongxun in 1983.
  • Video recorded in 1983 shows Kim Jong Il and Xi Zhongxu sitting together during a diplomatic visit.
  • Their sons, Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping, are now the leaders of North Korea and China.
  • The two have recently started hosting similar visits themselves.
  • In an odd twist, the concert where the two men sat together included a performance by singer Peng Liyuan.
  • She would later marry Xi Jinping, and is now China’s first lady.

Vintage video of Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping’s dads spending time together on a diplomatic visit 35 years ago shows how the two leaders are family friends as well as geopolitical allies.

The leaders’ fathers, Kim Jong Il and Xi Zhongxu, were filmed by state TV at a concert somewhere in China during a bilateral visit in 1983, which echoes the modern China-North Korea summits of recent weeks.

Kim Jon-Il Xi Zhongxun China visit 1983KCTVKim Jong Il and Xi Zhongxun applauding singer Peng Liyuan during the 1983 trip.
Kim jong-un xi jinpingXinhua News via TwitterKim and Xi in March 2018.

At the time, the two men were close to the top level of power in their countries, but not quite there.

Kim Jong Il’s father, Kim Il Sung, was still Supreme Leader, and he was his heir apparent. Meanwhile Xi was a member of China’s powerful Politburo standing committee.

In a further twist of fate, the two communist leaders were entertained on the visit by a young Chinese singer, Peng Liyuan, who would leader go on to marry Xi Jinping and become China’s first lady.

You can watch the relevant part here, from 14 minutes, 10 seconds.

The footage appears to have been recorded during the visit for broadcast on North Korean state TV. It has the logo of Korean Central Television in its top-left corner, and is narrated in the same style as official propaganda videos.

China singing Peng Liyuan Kim Jong-il Xi ZhongxunKCTVPeng Liyuan sings for Kim Jong Il and politburo member Xi Zhongxun, whose son Xi Jinping she would later marry.
Kim Jong un meets Xi Jinping wivesScreenshot/ TwitterKim, Xi, and their wives Ri Sol-ju (left) and Peng Liyuan (right).

A version of the visit is hosted on the YouTube channel North Korea Today, which uploaded it around a month ago. The channel hosts hundreds of other North Korean propaganda videos from the present and the past.

Xi Jinping, who is significantly older than Kim Jong Un, (he’s now 65, to Kim’s 35ish) would have been 30 at the time of the 1983 visit.

It is difficult to say what Kim Jong Un would have been doing then, since there is no settled date for when in the early 1980s he was born.

According to the oldest estimates, Kim could have been as old as 18 months during the visit, or he may not even have been born.

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