Kim’s wife appears in public for first time in a year
Published: 10:25 AM, 17 February 2021
Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol Ju at a concert to mark the birthday of Kim`s late father and former leader Kim Jong-il. Photo: Collected
Ri Sol Ju, the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has made her first public appearance for the first time in more than a year.
She joined her husband at a concert on Tuesday to mark the birthday of Kim's late father and former leader Kim Jong-il. The official newspaper Rodong Sinmun released photos of the pair at the event.
Ri has often accompanied Kim to major events in the past but had not been seen since January last year. Her absence stoked speculation over her health or potential pregnancy.
South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) had reportedly told congressmen yesterday that Ri was avoiding appearing in public due to concerns over Covid-19 and may have been spending time with her children. The NIS believes Ri and Kim have three children but little is publicly known about them.
North Korea has not officially reported any Covid-19 cases - though experts say this is unlikely.
According to the Rodong Sinmun, the couple entered the Mansudae Art Theatre together on Tuesday to "thunderous cheers". Photos showed the couple laughing - as well as a conspicuous lack of masks or social distancing measures.
Kim had earlier in the day also visited the Kumusan Palace of the Sun, where the bodies of his father and grandfather lie, to lay wreaths for their anniversary, known as the Day of the Shining Star.
State media also once again referred to Kim as "President" - a departure from his usual official title, which is "Chairman". The title of president was first used by North Korea's Central News Agency last week.
Typically, the title of president in North Korea is usually reserved for the late Kim Il-sung - the state's founder and grandfather of Kim. - BBC