| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

North Korean leader’s wife makes first public appearance in a year

The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Ri Sol Ju, has appeared for the first time in more than a year on Wednesday, joining her husband at a concert on one of the biggest holidays in the country.

Rodong Sinmun, the official ruling Worker’s Party newspaper, published photos of the couple at the event to mark the birthday of Kim’s late father and former leader Kim Jong Il.

Ri had often accompanied her husband to public events, but had not been seen since January last year at an event for the Lunar New Year holiday, thus raising speculation over her health and possible pregnancy.

Ri appeared to have refrained from outside activities to head off COVID-19 infections but was “playing well with their kids,” South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) told lawmakers on Tuesday.

The NIS believes the couple has 3 children. Little is publicly known about the trio.

North Korea has not confirmed any coronavirus cases, but the NIS has said an outbreak could not be ruled out as the country had active exchanges with China, where the virus first emerged, before closing the border early last year.

Ri and Kim smiled as they watched the concert at Mansudae Art Theatre in the capital of Pyongyang. Unlike many previous events, nobody in the photos published by Rodong Sinmun newspaper were wearing masks or maintaining social distancing measures.

  • Reuters