US officials closely monitor North Korea’s activities, so it might come as a surprise that we’ve been missing some basic information on its leader, Kim Jong Un.
But it wasn’t until yesterday that the US Treasury Department, after placing sanctions on Kim, officially identified his date of birth as January 8, 1984.
So he’s 32 years old.
In doing so, the Treasury Department added his information into its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list — a compilation of individuals and companies owned or controlled by targeted countries. After being added, the individual’s assets would be blocked, and US citizens would be prohibited from dealing with them.
The hermit kingdom is notoriously opaque, and until now, the public didn’t know for sure what year Kim was born. CNN noted last year that North Korean state media hasn’t ever acknowledged Kim’s exact date of birth.
Some experts have speculated that he was born in 1982, while others have suggested it was 1983.
Kim’s youth could be a reason behind the enigma.
“It could be because he is a young leader,” Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at South Korean think tank the Sejong Institute, told CNN. “Being young could have its advantage and disadvantage.”