North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

KJI's Interpreter

Kim Song-nam, of the KWP International Department, is third from right in this photo from February 2010 (Photo:KCNA)

Choson Ilbo has a profile on the man who shadows Kim Jong-il at his meetings with the Chinese.  Citing a weekly Hong Kong newspaper, CI identifies KJI’s interpreter as Kim Song-nam, a China specialist at the KWP International Department:

“He worked as the official interpreter for the late North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung and leader Kim Jong-il,” it added. “He has attended every high-level talk between China and North Korea over the past two decades.” The North’s official broadcaster described Kim Song-nam as a deputy director of the Workers Party’s International Department. That seems to have been the first time the official North Korean media introduced Kim, formerly a mere interpreter, by his official title, leading to speculation that an éminence grise is stepping cautiously into the limelight.


This article was written on 02 Mar 2010, and is filled under DPRK External Relations, DPRK-China Relations, International Department, Kim Jong-il.

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