Younger brother of North Korean founding leader dies aged 101

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Kim Yong-ju, North Korean veteran statesman and younger brother of founder Kim Il-sung, died from unknown causes around December 14, according to the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun. Kim held the positions of Honorary Vice President of the Supreme People's Assembly, Vice President of the DPRK and Vice Premier of the DPRK.

In a short article released by Rodong Sinmun, current leader Kim Jong-un was said to have sent a wreath to his bier, "expressing deep condolences over his death." In the same article, Kim Yong-ju was described as having "devotedly struggled to implement the Party's lines and policies and made a contribution to accelerating socialist construction and developing the Korean-style state social system".

The death was reported only two days before the ten-year death anniversary of former leader Kim Jong-il, Kim Yong-ju's nephew. Kim was passed over during Kim Il-sung's succession, and gradually "faded from the political scene", according to the Associated Press. According to the same source, his last public appearance was in a TV report in 2015, in which he is seen casting a ballot.

Kim Yong-ju was awarded the Order of Kim Il-sung and the Order of Kim Jong-il, the two highest orders of the country, and the title of Hero of the Republic, the highest honorary title of the country.

This event occured soon before the ten-year anniversary of Kim Jong-un's rise to power, an important event seen as his elevation to a status similar to his grandfather and father.