North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un’s Wife Reappears In Public

on October 31 2012 4:48 AM
Kim Jong-un
North Korea's first couple -- Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol Ju -- tour an amusement park in August. KCNA

The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reappeared in public, after being absent from the public eye for almost two months, according to the state media.

Ri Sol-ju attended a football match and a concert with her husband Monday, KCNA news agency said.

Ri’s reappearance has put an end to the mounting speculation that she had fallen out of favor of the North Korean leadership and had been chastised for failing to wear the mandatory lapel pin bearing the images of dead Kim dynasty leaders.

It was also rumored that she might be pregnant.

Ri was confirmed as Kim's wife in July by the state media, weeks after she was first seen in public with him.

Kim and Ri watched a football match and attended a concert in Pyongyang which marked the 60th anniversary of the Kim Il-sung Military University, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Tuesday.

"Marshal Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of the party and the people, came to the spectators' seats, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-ju. At that moment, thunderous applause broke out," the KCNA said.

Ri was shown wearing a long beige coat at the concert in a photograph released by the KCNA.

Seoul media continued the pregnancy speculation following her appearance Monday saying her face looked “puffy” and her stomach was “visibly bulging.”

“She is wearing a long coat but cannot hide her protruding abdomen,” South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo quoted an unnamed government official as saying.

According to the South Korean intelligence agency, Ri was “apparently raised in a middle-class home, studied in China and is no stranger to South Korea.”

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) told the parliamentary Intelligence Committee in July that Ri was born in an "ordinary family" in 1989, attended the Kumsong Arts School in Pyongyang and majored in singing in China, Chosun Ilbo had reported.

According to the NIS, Ri either got engaged or married Kim in 2009 while continuing to performing as a singer for an orchestra in North Korea.

The NIS believes that she started making public appearances with Kim since July 7, only after the North Korean regime decided that she should be seen by Kim's side to project a "stable image" of Kim as a leader.

The NIS had added fuel to the speculation over the sudden disappearance of Ri since early September, saying Pyongyang’s mighty leaders might have raised an issue over her casual and cheerful demeanor.

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