North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a concert with his wife and aunt; the audience greets them with “stormy cheers”

In the file for this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee in Pyongyang, North Korea | Photo credit: AP

Highlights

  • Korea’s Central News Agency reported on Wednesday that Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, were greeted with “stormy cheers” at the massive Mansudae Art Theater in Pyongyang after arriving for the concert on Tuesday.
  • According to KCNA, Kim was praised for “using on this earth a new world and a new era where people’s ideals, happiness and desire to build a mighty country are fully translated into reality.”
  • The artists performed songs and dances that demonstrated the “unity of spirit” of the North Korean people and their desire to create a socialist country “which will be the envy of the world”, the KCNA reported.

Seoul: The wife and aunt of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared on state media on Wednesday, after keeping a low profile during the coronavirus pandemic.

State television showed Kim’s wife, Ri Sol Ju, and her aunt, Kim Kyong Hui, attending a Lunar New Year performance at the Mansudae Art Theater in the capital Pyongyang.

She was last seen publicly on September 9 when Kim visited the Kumsusan Sun Palace, which houses the embalmed bodies of her late grandfather and father, on the anniversary of the founding. from the country.

“When (Kim) appeared in the theater auditorium with his wife, Ri Sol Ju, amid the welcoming music, the audience let out thunderous cheers of “Hurray! “” Korea’s official Central News Agency (KCNA) said. agency.

Ri, wearing a traditional red and black hanbok dress, chatted with Kim during the show. Later, the couple took the stage to shake hands and have their photos taken with the performers.

Ri was seen watching the concert next to Kim Kyong Hui, Kim’s aunt and a former senior official in the ruling Workers’ Party. This is his first public appearance since January 2020.

Kim Kyong Hui was an important figure in Kim’s early years in power, but disappeared from media attention after the execution of her husband, Jang Song Thaek, on charges of treason in 2013, before reappearing in 2016.

In 2017, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) reported that she suffered from an unspecified illness outside of Pyongyang.

The fact that Ri often accompanied Kim on social, business and even military outings drew international attention at the time, since Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, was rarely seen in public with any of his wives.

Last February, she attended a concert after being absent from state media for more than a year, fueling speculation about her health and pregnancy.

The NIS informed lawmakers that she avoided outdoor activities to prevent COVID-19 infections, but was “playing well with their children.”

There is no information publicly available about Kim and Ri’s children, but they are believed to have three.

There are no confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in North Korea, but the country has closed its borders and implemented strict restrictions, including travel restrictions.

Corina C. Butler