The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared for the first time in public this year, ending a rare absence that sparked speculation about her status.
Ri Sol Ju joined her husband at a birthday party for former leader Kim Jong Il, known as the Day of the Shining Star in North Korea, a Korean Central News Agency official reported on Wednesday.
When the Secretary-General arrived at the theater with his wife Ri Sol Ju during the reception, all in attendance cheered for “Hurray !,” KCNA said. They were served songs including “People Are of a Single Mind,” and photos of the couple. were printed on the front page of a national newspaper – Rodong Sinmun.
Ri, thought to be 32 years old, may have been sidelined due to coronavirus, which almost ended international visits and the need to appear on her husband’s side at events that are part of the mainstream state, technology News NK reported in late January.
Her first mention of KCNA took place in 2012, about half a year after her husband took over as leader, and her name has appeared on the official media site nearly 200 times since then, according to a NK News data study. The annual drought was the longest he had ever seen in the state media. North Korea does not comment on his absence.
“If his long absence is due to concerns about the coronavirus, his re-appearance could indicate state confidence in a state of segregation,” said Rachel Minyoung Lee, an independent political analyst who worked for the US government in North Korea-related areas.
The South Korean spy agency told lawmakers on Tuesday that Ri may have been caring for the couple’s children and was avoiding public disclosure during the outbreak of the coronavirus, Kim Byung-kee who is a Democratic Party lawmaker said that after a parliamentary intelligence committee meeting.
The organization also claims that North Korea hits Pfizer Inc. to find out about its Covid-19 drug and its treatment. North Korea says it has never been infected with a single coronavirus, but the claim is being questioned by the U.S., Japan and others.
Inside North Korea, there were speculations that she may have been ill, caring for a sick Kim family member or resident at home to prepare her young daughter to start school, the Daily NK, a website in Seoul that collects information from spies within this isolated nation, reports.
The health status of Kim and her family is among the most secretive secrets in the most secretive situations, known only to a few people in Kim’s inner circle.
Ri, a former North Korean athlete, appeared with her husband at a conference in China, where the couple sat down to eat with President Xi Jinping and his wife. Ri also joined Kim as they rode the snow on North Korea’s Mount Paektu North Korea, the symbolic seat of the Kim family rule in the country.
South Korean spies say the two got married in 2009. It is said that they are to have three children, but there is no official mention of their offspring yet. Dennis Rodman, the basketball captain who visited Kim in North Korea, said in 2013 he was holding the leader’s baby girl in his arms, a daughter named Ju Ae.