Kim wife back in the picture

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 18 Feb 2021

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's wife made a first public appearance in over a year after speculation her absence could be coronavirus-related or because of a pregnancy.

Ri Sol Ju, in her early 30s, joined her husband at a concert marking the birthday of his father and predecessor Kim Jong Il.

The anniversary celebrating the second member of the Kim dynasty to lead the country is the Day of the Shining Star.

The couple smiled broadly and applauded the performers at the Mansudae Art Theater in Pyongyang. No one in the theater wore masks.

Ri was last seen in January 2020. Her long absence set off questions on her health - whether she might be in seclusion because of the coronavirus or pregnant. The couple are believed to have three children.

A former star singer, Ri is one of the most high-profile women in the patriarchal nation alongside her husband's sister and adviser Kim Yo Jong.

The country has been in self-imposed isolation since closing its borders in January last year to try to protect itself from the pandemic that swept the world since it appeared in China.

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