North Korean first lady reappears in media after nine months of absence

Seoul, Dec 4 (IANS) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended air drills alongside his wife, Ri Sol-ju, marking the first lady’s first public appearance in nine months, the media reported on Sunday.

Kim watched the drill and gave “field guidance” to North Korean Air Force along with Ri, EFE news reported, without providing the date of the event.

This is the first time Ri has been mentioned by North Korean media since March 28, when she attended the inauguration of a shopping complex in Pyongyang.

Her prolonged absence once again gave rise to rumours in neighbouring South Korea that she might be pregnant or have fallen out of favour.

This is not the first time the North Korean first lady had disappeared from the public eye.

Her four-month absence last year also sparked several rumours.

Ri appeared with the North Korean leader for the first time in public in 2012, shortly after he came to power in December 2011.

The North Korean regime does not reveal information on the personal life of its leader, which is why there is little information on his wife or even how old she is, although she is believed to be aged between 25 and 30.

Ri appeared visibly pregnant at the end of 2012 and it is believed that she gave birth to a daughter in early 2013.

But the only person who has claimed to have seen her is American retired professional basketball player Dennis Rodman, who struck up a friendship with Kim during a visit to Pyongyang.

–IANS

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