Kim Jong-un’s family members live secret lives in the U.S., the very place the secluded leader of North Korea has threatened to destroy.
In fact, the family members of Kim Jong Un, which include his aunt, her husband, and their children, have lived in the U.S. since 1998. They defected from North Korea and escaped to the U.S. with the assistance of the CIA and now live anonymous lives, according to the Washington Post.
The aunt of Kim Jong-un and her husband, once known as Ri Gang, operate a dry cleaning business, and the three cousins of Kim Jong-un have grown up and lead lives of their own. By all accounts, the relatives of Kim Jong-un are doing relatively well for themselves.
“My friends here tell me I’m so lucky, that I have everything,” 60-year-old Ko Yong Suk, what she was known as when she lived in North Korea, told the Washington Post. “My kids went to great schools and they’re successful, and I have my husband, who can fix anything. There’s nothing we can envy.”
Ko is the sister to Kim Jong-un’s mother. She was also reportedly responsible for taking care of Kim Jong-un and his older brother while they were growing up and attending school in Switzerland.
“We lived in a normal house and acted like a normal family. I acted like their mother,” Ko said. “I encouraged him to bring his friends home because we wanted them to live a normal life. I made snacks for the kids. They ate cake and played with Legos.”
Kim Jong-un became obsessed with basketball and even slept with a basketball, his aunt says. She claims his mother told him that he’d grow taller if he played basketball enough.
As a child, Kim Jong-un was short-tempered and would even go on hunger strikes to get his way, according to Fox News.
Ko also claims that Kim Jong-un was born in 1984, the same year as her own son. She says she even changed the leader of North Korea’s diapers.
Later, Kim Jong-un’s mother would become sick with terminal breast cancer. According to stories circulating in North Korea, Ko and Ri became concerned of their places in the royal family. If something should happen to Ko’s sister, their place would be uncertain.
However, Ko and Ri say that they chose to defect to the U.S. to find treatment for Kim Jong-un’s mother when her treatments in Switzerland and France were not working.
According to Ko and Ri, they and their three children went by taxi to the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. The couple said they were North Korean diplomats and needed asylum. A Korean speaker flew in from Washington, and then Ko and Ri were taken to a U.S. military base near Frankfurt. For months, they were questioned there, and the couple told the U.S. government about Kim Jong Un and their connections to the royal family in North Korea.
At the time, the U.S. government did not know who Kim Jong Un was, but they would know in time.
Ko believes Kim Jong-un could not grow up normally when he found out during his eighth birthday party that he would someday become ruler of North Korea. From that tender age, he was courted as a leader from military leaders in the country.
When the aunt and uncle of Kim Jong-un came to the U.S., they first started out near Washington, D.C., but later moved to fit in a little more somewhere else. However, Ri still dreams of the day when he can return to North Korea to dispel lies he believes are being spread about them by South Korea and defectors.
“My ultimate goal is to go back to North Korea. I understand America and I understand North Korea, so I think I can be a negotiator between the two. If Kim Jong Un is how I remembered he used to be, I would be able to meet him and talk to him.”
Despite his wish to return, the uncle of Kim Jong-un says they have lived “the American dream.”
The children of Ri and Ko have no wish to return to North or South Korea.
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