SEOUL – Kim Han Sol, the grandson of the late Kim Jong Il and a student at the Mostar-based branch of the United World College (UWC) has not been seen for days, a Bosnian newspaper said on the 19th.
Kim Han Sol is the son of Kim Jong Nam (the elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) and is an overseas student in Bosnia. His family reportedly fell out of favor with Kim Jong Il in the early 2000s, and has been living in Macau, in effective exile from North Korea.
“He doesn’t to go North Korea at all, he lives here [in Mostar], he has his circle of friends and he’s an excellent learner,” Bosnian newspaper Glas Srpske reported the UWC Mostar headmistress Valentina Mindoljević as saying to Croatian daily Slobodna Dalmacija. Local media reports suggest Kim Han Sol may only have left Mostar temporarily.
A journalist reportedly went to Mostar to question students about Kim Han Sol’s whereabouts for the Bosnian daily, but was unable to track him down. One student, however, confirmed that Kim Han Sol had been absent from classes for some days, and a local newspaper vendor confirmed he had not been seen recently.
Kim Han Sol first caught the public eye after giving a rare interview to Finnish television, first reported by NK ECONWATCH here.
[youtube id="T_uSuCkKa3k" width="620" height="360"]
Kim Han Sol speaking to former Swedish MP and Finnish Minister of Defence Elisabeth Rehn on Finnish television, October 2012.
His arrival on campus in 2011 caused uproar, with South Korean and Japanese press camping out for days to get the first glimpses of him.
“He is our student like 130 others in our college. I don’t think it’s respectful to drag the name of this decent, upright young man in the newspapers,” UWC head Valentina Mindoljević told Slobodna Dalmacija.
Update 1624KST: Article updated to reflect accurate attribution of first quote. Additional information quoted from UWC Mostar head.