05:15 GMT29 October 2020
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    A new book by a Washington Post journalist contains a number of bombshell claims about the early life of one of the most enigmatic heads of state, North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

    In her new book, "The Great Successor: The Secret Rise and Rule of Kim Jong-un", WaPo journalist Anna Fifield alleges that the North Korean leader had a very luxurious childhood and sheds light on just how good he had it.

    His father, Kim Jong-il, is said to have made sure that his heir had more gadgets and gaming tech, including pinball machines and Super Mario video games, than any European toy store, while Hollywood movies like James Bond and Ben-Hur were screened in private soundproof cinemas.

    But that's only the tip of the iceberg: according to the biography, young Kim, who was obsessed with model planes and ships, had a car and even a real gun.

    His late father had a car modified so that Kim could drive it when he was just seven; he also purportedly walked around with a Colt .45 pistol on his hip when he was just eleven years old.

    Fifield also wrote that Kim spent his early years in walled luxury compounds with 15-foot iron gates in Pyongyang and the family beach house in the coastal city of Wonsan.

    The author then claims that when Kim turned 12, he was sent off to a private school in Bern, Switzerland, where he allegedly went by the fake name of "Pak Un" and travelled around Europe using a forged Brazilian passport under the name Josef Pwag.

    Fifield's claims echo last year's report by Reuters, citing a Western security official, who provided alleged photocopies of the fake documents belonging to Kim, who posed, as already mentioned, as Josef Pwag, and his father under the name Ijong Tchoi. At the time, the North Korean Embassy in Brazil refused to comment.

    In Bern, the book suggests, Kim lived with his maternal aunt and her husband, who pretended to be his parents before they defected to the United States two years later.

    During his time at the Swiss school, the future North Korean leader, who is now a friend of former NBA star Dennis Rodman, was obsessed with basketball and allegedly often indulged in trash talk during games.

    As for the curriculum, it reportedly included lessons on the French Revolution, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. These teenage years in Switzerland, Fifield claimed in a Politico article, taught him that "if he were to live in the outside world, he would have been entirely unremarkable. A nobody".

    "Far from persuading him to change his country, these years would have shown him the necessity of perpetuating the system that had turned him, his father and grandfather into deities", she wrote.

    The book is already making waves on the internet, with social media users coming out with all sorts of reactions:

    Kim Jong-un is an extremely secretive head of state - even his date of birth remains unconfirmed. North Korean media suggest that he was born in 1982, however, South Korean intelligence officials believe that he was actually born a year later, while the US Treasury Department has listed his date of birth as 8 January 1984.

    Dennis Rodman, USA, basketball, car, gun, head of state, book, leader, North Korea, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un
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