On Wednesday (Feb 2), North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s wife, Ri Sol Ju, appeared in official media for the first time in nearly five months, as the ruling family has kept a low profile during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the official KCNA news agency, Kim and Ri attended a Lunar New Year art performance at the Mansudae Art Theatre in Pyongyang.
She was last seen in public on September 9, when she accompanied her husband to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which holds the embalmed bodies of Kim’s late grandfather and father, on the country’s foundation anniversary.
“When (Kim) entered the theatrical auditorium with his wife, Ri Sol Ju, amid the playing of the welcome music, the audience erupted with stormy cheers of ‘Hurrah!'” According to KCNA, the pair returned to the stage after the event to shake hands and pose for photos with the artists.
Ri attracted international attention because she frequently joined Kim on social, business, and even military activities, in stark contrast to his father, Kim Jong Il, who was rarely seen in public with any of his wives.
She had been absent from official media for more than a year before being spotted at a concert last February, fueling speculation about her health and potential pregnancy.
According to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, she presumably avoided outside activities to avoid COVID-19 infections but was “playing nicely with their kids.”
The spy service believes Kim and Ri have three children, although nothing is known about them in the public eye.
North Korea has not confirmed any COVID-19 breakouts, but it has closed its borders and implemented stringent measures, including travel restrictions.