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The dictator who defies the world
October 09, 2006
Kim Jong Il (far left), 55, the Communist dictator of North Korea, who has sent tremors the world over with his country's nuclear test on Monday, is one of the world's most reclusive leaders.
He hardly travels outside his country or entertains political guests from abroad. Not much is known about his personal life -- apart from snatches of information about his love for films, cognac and women.
This eccentric, like his father Kim Il Sung, has kept North Korea isolated from the world community. North Korea reportedly spends more than 25 per cent of his country's GNP on defence while hundreds of thousand of people in the country go hungry.
Only international food aid has helped the North Korean people cope with the threat of famine in the past decade.
President George W Bush has called North Korea as part of the Axis of Evil along with Iran and Iraq. In 2003, North Korea withdrew from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It tested four, five short range missiles in 2006 and challenged the world to take action against it by conducting its first nuclear test on Monday.
No one is more terrified by North Korea's nuclear tests than South Korea, whose citizens have created tableaux like the one above, right.
Kim Jong Il succeeded Kim Il Sung as North Korea's supreme ruler, after his father's death in 1994.
Known to his people as 'Dear Leader', he is known to have a fear of flying and prefers armoured trains, which he uses to travel to China, the only nation he is known to visit.
Photographs: KCNA Via Korean News Service/Getty Images and Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images