Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-il’s ‘hipster’ grandson heading to elite French university

Kim Han-sol will join the Europe-Asia undergraduate programme at Sciences Po's Le Havre campus

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 August, 2013, 12:40pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 August, 2013, 9:40am

The grandson of North Korea's late dictator Kim Jong-il will begin studying at an elite French university next month.

Kim Han-sol, who is the nephew of leader Kim Jong-un, will enrol at Sciences Po's Le Havre campus, joining the Europe-Asia undergraduate programme.

The three-year liberal arts programme, which focuses on the relationship between Europe and Asia, is taught in English and gives students the option to pursue a Master's at the university's Paris campus.

"With his hipster glasses and ear piercings, the young Kim Han-sol looks more like the spiritual son of Psy, the famous creator of Gangnam Style, rather than the grandson of one of the most heinous dictators the world has ever known", wrote the conservative French daily Le Figaro.

In May, Kim reportedly graduated from the United World College (UWC) in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Kim was born in Pyongyang in 1995 and moved to Macau when he was a few years old.

Generally low-profile, he drew attention last year over an interview with a Finnish television network. His interviewer, Elisabeth Rehn, was the president of UWC in Mostar, a former UN undersecretary general and former defence minister of Finland.

In the interview, Kim Han-sol said he had never met his uncle nor his grandfather.

"I really never met them in real life so I don't know how he [Kim Jong-un] became the dictator," explained Kim.

His exiled father, Kim Jong-nam, who stayed out of North Korean politics, drew unwanted attention to the reclusive regime when he tried to enter Japan with a fake passport in 2001. Until the early 2000s, Kim Jong-nam was tipped to be the next leader of the communist nation.

But he fell out of favour with his father, and his younger half-brother Kim Jong-un was named as Kim Jong-il's successor in 2010.

"I've always dreamed that one day I will go back [to North Korea] to make things better and make it easier for the people there," Kim Han-sol said in the Finnish television interview. "I also dream of unification because it's really sad that I can't go to the other side - it's a really sad story."