Grandson of Kim Jong Il talks about school, life outside North Korea

Ron Recinto
The Sideshow


Kim Han Sol, the grandson of longtime North Korean leader the late Kim Jong Il, has two earrings in his left lobe and a Libyan roommate at school.

These were among several revelations that Kim Han Sol, who speaks English very well, told former Finnish Defense Minister Elisabeth Rehn in an interview for Finnish television.

"It was quite an interesting experience throughout the year having a Libyan roommate," Kim told Rehn. "And especially the revolution, when it happened he was really enthusiastic about it, and he was telling me many stories ... how he went home and saw different Libya. ... It was really interesting."

Kim is the son of Kim Jong Nam, who was the heir apparent to succeed Kim Jong Il, at one point, before Kim Jong Un. But according to, Kim Jong Nam fell out of favor, pushing the boundaries of tolerance of North Korean officials after allegedly trying to defect to Japan.

[Related: North Korean First Lady 'missing' from public view]

Kim, a freshman at the United World College in Mostar, Bosnia, said he never met his powerful grandfather. Meeting his grandfather and talking with him was something he had hoped to do.

Kim's mother came from an ordinary North Korean family who told him to understand the life of regular citizens, he said in the interview. He grew up isolated in North Korea and didn't have many North Korean childhood friends, he said.

But when he moved to a school in Macau, he was around youths from different countries, including the United States and South Korea, which are in conflict with North Korea. Kim told Rehn that interactions with South Koreans were initially a bit awkward, but now he has good friends from many countries.

Kim supports a unified Korean peninsula. He told Rehn this comes from his interactions with young people from all over the world, including South Koreans.

"We share our stories from back home and realize how similar we are... same language, same culture, and it's just political issues that divide the nation in half," he said in the interview.  "My friends say, 'It would be really great to take a bus to South Korea or North Korea and meet at some point.' That's one of the dreams," he said.

Kim told Rehn he would like to return to North Korea and make life better there. "I've always dream that one day I would go back and make things better and make it easier for the people there.

Images from the interview of Kim at the school seem to show that he is adjusting well and enjoying the environment. When forming an opinion, he said that he takes opinions from both sides of an argument and decides for himself.

"I'm very happy. I love Mostar." Kim says he likes the food and the people at the college.