The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared in public for the first time in about a year, after photos of the pair watching a concert appeared in a North Korean newspaper published Wednesday.
It is unclear why Ri Sol Ju had not appeared in public since January last year, but South Korea’s national intelligence agency told lawmakers on Tuesday that it appears to have something to do with the North’s antivirus campaign.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (front R) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (front L) watch a performance in Pyongyang on Feb. 16, 2021. (KCNA/Kyodo)
The National Intelligence Service said it has picked up no unusual signs, and that she seems to be spending her time with her kids, according to the lawmakers.
Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Workers’ Party of Korea, carried the photos along with a news report that the pair watched a concert in the capital Pyongyang on Tuesday celebrating the birth of former leader Kim Jong Il.
The photos showed many other people in the theater, but no one appeared to be wearing a mask. Nor did they appear to practice any social distancing.
North Korea has closed its borders since early last year in the wake of the new coronavirus’s outbreak in neighboring China and kept emergency antivirus measures in place.
Kim Jong Il was the father of current leader Kim Jong Un. He died in late 2011.
Ri Sol Ju’s last public appearance was on Jan. 25, 2020, when she and her husband watched a performance to mark the Lunar New Year.
North Korean media also reported that Kim Jong Un on Tuesday visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where the embalmed bodies of the former leaders lie in state.