N. Korea first lady makes 1st ap­pear­ance of 2015

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

North Korea’s first lady has ap­peared in public for the first time this year as part of cel­e­bra­tions mark­ing the birth­day of the coun­try’s found­ing leader Kim Il Sung, state me­dia said Tues­day.

A grin­ning Ri Sol Ju, wear­ing what ap­peared to be a wed­ding ring on her left hand, was pic­tured clap­ping next to her smil­ing hus­band Kim Jong Un dur­ing a men’s foot­ball match at Kim Il Sung Sta­dium on Mon­day, the North’s Korean Cen­tral News Agency (KCNA) said.

The images of the cou­ple at a podium flanked by top party of­fi­cials were pub­lished in state me­dia.

The match was be­ing held as part of a lav­ish se­ries of events cel­e­brat­ing the 103rd birth­day of Kim Il Sung, the young leader’s grand­fa­ther, which falls on Wed­nes­day.

North Korea des­ig­nates the “Day of the Sun” as a rare two-day na­tional hol­i­day, with art per­for­mances, ex­hi­bi­tions and sport­ing events, and pil­grim­ages to the late leader’s birth­place in Py­ongyang.

A for­mer mem­ber of the North’s Un­hasu Orches­tra, Ri was last seen in public in De­cem­ber 2014, when she and her hus­band at­tended a cer­e­mony to com­mem­o­rate the third an­niver­sary of the death of Kim Jong Un’s fa­ther, Kim Jong Il.

Their mar­riage was only re­vealed in July 2012 when pic­tures emerged of a young woman ac­com­pa­ny­ing Kim at of­fi­cial events in a break from the past, when the North’s first ladies were kept out of the lime­light.

She was pic­tured wear­ing stylish, ex­pen­sive-look­ing out­fits and on one oc­ca­sion sported what ap­peared to be a Chris­tian Dior hand­bag, in a coun­try plagued by chronic poverty.

But Ri has been out of the spot­light since De­cem­ber for un­known rea­sons.

The Kim dy­nasty has ruled the iso­lated state for nearly seven decades with an iron fist and per­va­sive per­son­al­ity cult.

Kim Il Sung led North Korea from its estab­lish­ment in 1948 un­til his death on July 8, 1994.

He was suc­ceeded by his son, Kim Jong Il, who also ruled un­til his death in De­cem­ber 2011 when power was trans­ferred to his son and cur­rent leader Kim Jong Un.

KCNA said “an end­less stream of peo­ple” was vis­it­ing, Mangy­ong­dae, the birth­place of Kim Il Sung, as the “Day of the Sun” draws near.

On Sun­day more than 800 run­ners took place in an in­ter­na­tional marathon watched by hun­dreds of fans, in­clud­ing some 600 from abroad, as part of the cel­e­bra­tions.

“At­tend­ing the race were more than 600 marathon fans from dozens of coun­tries in­clud­ing Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, Swe­den, Fin­land, United King­dom and Italy,” KCNA said.

The North an­nounced in Fe­bru­ary that the April 12 marathon would only be open to do­mes­tic run­ners this year, be­cause of lin­ger­ing con­cerns over the Ebola epi­demic in west Africa.

But it last month reversed a ban on for­eign­ers tak­ing part in the an­nual run, af­ter lift­ing strict travel re­stric­tions aimed at keep­ing out the Ebola virus.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.