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Kim Jong-Il

(1942- ). Son of Kim Il-Sung and leader of North Korea. Active in the Korean Workers' party leadership since 1964, Kim Jong-Il became secretary of its central committee in 1973. In 1991 he was appointed supreme commander of the armed forces. Upon his father's death, Kim Jong-Il took over leadership of the country. He was named secretary of the Communist party in 1997 and consolidated his power with the title of National Defense Commission chairman in 1998. Although Kim has established relations with a number of Western nations, easing the North's diplomatic isolation, he has provoked international crises over North Korea's nuclear weapons production program. (from the Columbia Encyclopedia, Copyright 2005, Columbia University Press).

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