Wife of North Korea’s Kim makes first public appearance in a year

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju. [Reuters]

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

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

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

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

The NIS believes Ri and Kim have three children. Little is publicly known about the trio.

North Korea has not confirmed any COVID-19 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.

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