North Korea’s first lady, Ri Sol Ju, made her first public appearance this year on Monday during celebrations marking the birthday of the country’s founding leader Kim Il-sung, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Tuesday. Kim Jong Un’s wife was spotted wearing a wedding ring on her left hand, Agence France-Presse reported.
Kim and his wife were seen attending a men’s football match at Kim Il-sung Stadium to celebrate the 103rd birthday of the North Korean leader’s grandfather. Ri was reportedly last seen in public on Dec. 17 when she attended a ceremony along with her husband to commemorate the third death anniversary of Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il.
Ri’s marriage to Kim came to light when reports surfaced in July 2012 about a woman accompanying the leader at official events. Ri made her first state appearance at the funeral of Kim Jong Il, who died of a heart attack in December 2011. Little is known about the North Korean leader's wife and her background, but earlier reports stated that she was born around 1984, in the North Korean city of Chongjin, which is located near the Chinese border, and is the daughter of distinguished, well-off North Koreans.
North Korea designates the birthday of Kim Il-sung -- the "Day of the Sun" -- as a rare two-day national holiday. KCNA reported that thousands of people were visiting Mangyongdae, the birthplace of Kim Il-sung. The celebrations also included an international marathon that was attended by more than 800 runners on Sunday though the North had announced in February that the April 12 marathon would be open only to domestic runners because of lingering concerns over the Ebola epidemic that killed thousands of people in West Africa.
"Attending the race were more than 600 marathon fans from dozens of countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden, Finland, UK and Italy," KCNA reported.