Kim Han-sol is the 17-year-old Millennial grandson of Kim Jong-Il and judging from this video interview he managed to turn out pretty normal. Han-sol was recently interviewed by former United Nations Under-Secretary General Elisabeth Rehn for a Finnish television station.
His dad is Kim Jong-nam, who was the heir apparent at one point before Kim Jong Un. Han-sol is a freshman at United World College in Mostar, Bosnia, and looks the part with stylish black framed glasses. (Seriously, Han-sol, where did you get your glasses?) He speaks very fluent English, and seems like a rational, tolerant, confident young man.
Han-sol's relative normalcy might have something to do with him leaving North Korea when he was young to go to school in Macau. He was able to meet people from all over the world while at school, and discovered they weren't all that bad. He even made friends from the U.S. and South Korea. "These are countries we've had a lot of conflicts with, a lot of tension, but we turned out to be great friends in the end," he told Rehn.
He also explains how he never met his grandfather, even though he really wanted to. He doesn't even know if Kim Jong-Il knew he existed. "I always wanted to know what kind of person is he is, and just know more about his personal things," he told Rehn.
Unlike his grandfather, Han-sol supports a unified Korea. He told Rehn about how much he related to his South Korean friends at school, how that helped shape his opinions on his country. "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. Han-sol wants to go back to North Korea "and make things better for the people there," and he said he dreams of unification one day. "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.
Part 1 (skip to about 1:50):
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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