Seoul | The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has appeared in public for just over a year, state media reported Wednesday, citing some as the cause of the coronavirus, and others as the cause of the pregnancy.
Ri Sol Ju, in her early thirties, attended a concert with her husband to commemorate the birth of her father and his predecessor, Kim Jong Il.
The second birthday of the Kim Dynasty is known as “Shining Star Day”. It is one of the most important holidays in the North Korean calendar.
The official “Rodong Sinmun” newspaper released photos of smiling and admiring artists performing at the Monsoon Theater of the Arts in Pyongyang.
“When the Secretary-General entered the auditorium of the theater with his wife, Ri Sol Ju, to the sound of welcoming music, all the participants cheered them on by shouting ‘Hooray’,” the official KCNA agency reported.
In the published photos, none of the audience is wearing a mask.
Ri Sol Ju has not appeared in public at a lunar New Year event since January 2020.
His absence has led to many ulation rumors about his health condition. Some wondered if she was alone, or if she was pregnant, to protect herself from the coronavirus.
The couple has three children.
North Korea closed its borders early last year in an attempt to protect itself from an outbreak in neighboring China. Mr. Kim has repeatedly stated that his country has not escaped the coronavirus, which foreign experts suspect.
The publication of these photos came the day after Seoul Intelligence briefed South Korean MPs, claiming that the North Korean leader’s wife was away from public engagement due to the epidemic and was playing with her children.
Prior to her absence, she appeared regularly during his field visits or at his diplomatic meetings, especially with Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Former hit singer Ri Sol Ju appeared in public in Mr. Kim’s entourage in 2012.
She, along with her husband’s sister Kim Yoo Jong, was one of the most well-known women in patriarchal rule.