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.