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Last week, a decrepit Kim Jong-il took a midnight train from North Korea into China, where he met with Chinese president Hu Jintao in the northern Chinese industrial city of Changchun.The trip had two probable motives. The first was to avoid having to meet Jimmy Carter, who was in Pyongyang to free an American citizen. The Dear Leader can be forgiven his desire to skip an encounter with the world’s most irritating man.The second motive was probably to introduce his son and heir, Kim Jong-un — dubbed Youth Captain — to his Chinese overlords. After a long struggle, a consensus has emerged: Kim Jong-un is the new Kim on the Block. So what do we know about the Youth Captain? Not much. A photo of him as a boy is on the right. Other than that, you know, the usual. From the Chosun-Ilbo:
Those who knew “Pak Un,” the name he used at the Swiss school, say he was indifferent to political issues and never made any anti-American comments. He worshipped basketball players in the NBA. A friend who visited his apartment at #10, Kirchstrasse, Liebefeld, recalls that Kim had a room filled with NBA-memorabilia.
In class, Pak Un was generally shy and awkward with girls, but he became a different person on basketball court, according to his classmates. “A fiercely competitive player,” said classmate Nikola Kovacevic. “He was very explosive. He could make things happen. He was the playmaker.”
Kim also had a collection of Nike sneakers. “We only dreamed about having such shoes. He was wearing them,” recalled Kovacevic, who estimated the price of each pair at around US$200.
Shy and awkward with girls? Loves basketball? We can work with that, right? May I suggest Special Envoys to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Kobe Bryant?