Kim Jong Un's mysterious wife reappears after 'disappearing' for a year

Andrew Cummings
February 17, 2021

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is seen here speaking to the Workers' Party. They were treated to songs including "People Are of a Single Mind", and photos of the couple were splashed on the front page of the state's largest newspaper - Rodong Sinmun.

Ri, who often accompanied Kim to key public events, had not been seen since January last year when she was pictured at an event for the Lunar New Year holiday, stoking speculation over her health and potential pregnancy.

The NIS added that she appeared to be spending time with her children and that "no unusual signs have been detected".

These findings by South Korea's National Intelligence Service were disclosed to lawmakers during a National Assembly's intelligence committee hearing this week, with lawmaker Ha Tae-keung telling reporters, "The cyberattacks included an attempt to steal COVID-19 vaccine and treatment technology, to which Pfizer was subject", The Washington Post reports.

Various incidents of pharmaceutical firms being the target of online hackers have taken place since the start of the pandemic, such as AstraZeneca in November 2020, followed by the European Agency of Medicine just a month later.

South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) told lawmakers on Tuesday (local time) that Ri appeared to have refrained from outside activities to head off coronavirus infections but was "playing well with their kids".

It is the first official confirmation that the North has asked for global help, with the country's medical infrastructure seen as woefully inadequate for dealing with any large-scale outbreak.

The rare border crossing came as North Korea's prolonged lockdowns rolled back the number of defectors arriving in South Korea to an all-time low previous year.

"As the General Secretary came to the auditorium of the theatre together with his wife Ri Sol Ju amid the welcome music, all the participants burst into thunderous cheers of 'Hurrah!'" the official KCNA news agency reported. Ri also joined Kim as they rode horses through the snow on North Korea's Mount Paektu, the symbolic seat of Kim family rule over the country.

South Korean intelligence said the two married in 2009.

Other reports by iNewsToday