KIM Jong-un and North Korea’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons has heightened global tensions and escalated the risk of military conflict with the US.
But very little is known about the dictator behind the military regime. Here is everything we do know.
Kim is the second child of his predecessor as Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-il and his wife Kim Yong-hui[/caption]
Who is Kim Jong-un?
Kim is the second child of his predecessor as Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-il and his wife Kim Yong-hui.
North Korean authorities have stated that his birth date is January 8, 1982, but South Korean intelligence officials believe the actual date is a year later.
Chicago Bulls legend Dennis Rodman, who is a friend of the dictator, said he was born on January 8, 1983.
But records at the Swiss school he attended say he was born on July 5, 1984, making him 35 years old.
The North Korea dictator stands at 5ft7in (1.7m).
Kim attended an English language school near Bern before later going to the Liebefeld Steinhölzli school in Koniz using the name “Pak Un”.
And it was during his time in Europe where he is said to have developed his passions for cheese and basketball.
Cuba’s Miguel Díaz-Canel and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un smile on their official portraits[/caption]
His old mates at the German-speaking Liebefeld-Steinhölzli public school say Kim was a “funny, popular boy.”
Like everybody else at the school, Mr Micaelo was introduced to Kim as “Pak Un” and told he was the son of a North Korean embassy official.
He said one day Kim told him who he really was, but he dismissed the story as fantasy.
In March Kim slipped into China for a “unofficial visit” to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping ahead of talks with US President Donald Trump.
Later, in May, he returned to China for another meeting with the Chinese ruler as part of a programme of diplomacy over North Korea’s nuclear programme ahead of the US summit.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un attends the extended bilateral meeting at the Vietnam summit[/caption]
Can he speak English?
According to a report from United Press International (UPI), some experts in South Korea believe he could be fluent in English, due to his Western education.
However, UPI didn’t determine to what degree of fluency he may have.
According to the Telegraph, Kim’s grades were so bad he only passed English with the minimum.
He is also believed to be fluent in German.
Kim was ‘competitive but good natured’ in his schooldays[/caption]
Who are Kim Jong-un’s family?
He had an older half-brother named Kim Jong-nam who was assassinated in Kuala Lumpur Airport after being attacked by two women.
Kim Yo-jong is in the director of North Korea’s Propaganda and Agitation Department and is an alternate member of the Politburo, and travelled to Pyeonchang, South Korea, for the Winter Olympics in 2018.
On July 25, 2012, North Korean state media reported for the first time that Kim Jong-un was married to Ri Sol-ju.
Despot Kim has fathered three children with his wife – who is believed to have once visited South Korea as part of a cheerleading squad.
According to previous intelligence reports, Ri married the dictator in 2009 and gave birth to their first child the following year, with their second born in 2013.
Former NBA star Rodman, following his trip to the country in 2013, has been the only source of information about the couple’s second child – a baby girl named Kim Ju-ae.
Saying that he had held Kim’s daughter in his arms, Rodman described the North Korean leader as “a good dad” who has “a good family”.
South Korean intelligence reports have described Ri as coming from an ordinary family, with her father an academic and her mother a doctor.
First Lady Ri reportedly had the couple’s third child in February 2017 after vanishing from public view throughout most of her pregnancy.
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When did he become North Korea’s Supreme Leader?
His half brother had been favourite to succeed Kim Jong-il before he fell out of favour after a failed attempt to visit Tokyo Disneyland on a fake passport.
He died on December 17, 2011, and it had been initially rumoured his brother in law Jang Song-thaek would act as regent as Kim Jong-un was too young.
Kim Jong-un was formally announced as his father’s successor on Boxing Day 2011.
Two years later Jang Song-thaek, Jong-un’s uncle, would be executed in one of Kim’s first purges.
Despite being Supreme Leader of the reclusive state he is technically not the head of it.
That honour belongs to his grandfather Kim Il-sung who was declared the “Eternal President” on his death in 1994.