New information about North Korean dictator's past

Kim Jong-Un's former schoolteacher in Switzerland: 'He liked playing basketball, admired Michael Jordan, and loved German folk songs.'

Mordechai Sones,

Kim Jong-Un
Kim Jong-Un
Reuters

As a youngster, the leader of one of the world's most isolated states, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un learned in a Swiss school. His former teachers now reveal details about the man who threatens to ignite a war with the United States.

Together with his older brother Kim Jong Chool and his younger sister Kim Yu-yong, Kim Jong-Un studied at a public school in the city of Koniz near the capital city of Bern.

One of his teachers said that Jong Un "liked basketball very much, spoke German with the Swiss accent used in Bern, and loved to sing the Swiss folk song 'Alperose' written in 1985 by Polo Hopper."

Although there is no precise information on the date Jung Un arrived in Switzerland, estimates speak of 1991 as the year when the current North Korean leader landed in Koniz, near Bern, along with his brother and sister, when he was only seven at the time. The Koniz authorities confirmed that Jung Un attended public school in the city from August 1998 to 2000 under the pseudonym "Pak Un".

"He was registered as the son of one of the employees of the North Korean Embassy in Switzerland," one of the officials in the city of Koniz said. At first Jung Un learned in a class for foreign students speaking a foreign language, but a year later he moved to a regular class with local students.

According to some evidence, first indications of his dictatorial qualities could have been discerned at an early age when he appointed one of the older students at school to be his "bodyguard" as he made his way to school and back home.

The school teachers described him as "a well-integrated student, hardworking, and ambitious." "His biggest hobby was basketball," a former teacher said in a report summarizing his studies. "Students who studied with the North Korean dictator said he was fascinated by basketball, especially the NBA League. His favorite player was Michael Jordan."

The editors of the British newspaper Daily Mail tried to talk to Kim Jong-Un's former teachers, but most of them preferred to maintain silence. Many of them also confused him with his older brother, Kim Jong-Chool, who resembled him in appearance. One teacher told the Swiss media that "Jong Un particularly liked singing lessons - singing the song 'Alperose' with all his heart, at every opportunity." Another teacher described Jung Un as "a very good student in mathematics who was particularly interested in studying the German language."

The person who took responsibility for Jung Un during his Switzerland years was Ri Su Jung, now 77, who previously served as North Korea's ambassador to Switzerland. He took care of all of Jong In's needs, including apartment arrangements in the city center and concern with his personal safety.




top