North Korean chief Kim Jong Un’s spouse, Ri Sol Ju, appeared in state media for the primary time in additional than a yr on Wednesday, becoming a member of her husband at a live performance on one of many nation’s largest holidays.
The official ruling Worker’s Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun launched images of the pair on the occasion to mark the birthday of Kim’s late father and former chief Kim Jong Il.
Ri had typically accompanied Kim to main public occasions, however had not been seen since January final yr at an occasion for the Lunar New Year vacation, stoking hypothesis over her well being and potential being pregnant.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) advised lawmakers on Tuesday that Ri appeared to have shunned exterior actions to move off coronavirus infections, however was “playing well with their kids.”
The NIS believes Ri and Kim have three youngsters. Little is publicly recognized in regards to the trio.
North Korea has not confirmed any Covid-19 instances, however the NIS has stated an outbreak couldn’t be dominated out because the nation had lively exchanges with China, the place the virus first emerged, earlier than closing the border early final yr.
Ri and Kim smiled as they watched the live performance at Mansudae Art Theatre within the capital of Pyongyang.
Unlike a number of earlier occasions, no person within the pictures printed by Rodong Sinmun had been carrying masks or sustaining social distancing measures.
The newspaper additionally reported that Kim visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which homes the embalmed our bodies of his father and grandfather, to put wreaths for the anniversary, known as the Day of the Shining Star.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s army stated Tuesday it had captured a North Korean man who crossed the closely fortified border between the 2 international locations and was investigating whether or not he tried to defect.
The man was discovered close to a checkpoint on the jap finish of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the rival Koreas, and was taken into custody after a three-hour search, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) stated.
“He is presumed to be a North Korean and we’re conducting an investigation into details, including how he had come down and whether he wished to defect,” the JCS stated in an announcement.
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The uncommon border crossing got here as North Korea’s extended lockdowns rolled again the variety of defectors arriving in South Korea to an all-time low final yr.
Cross-border ties soured after denuclearisation talks between Pyongyang and Washington stalled in 2019.
A spat simmered in September after North Korean troops shot useless a South Korean fisheries official who went lacking at sea, fanning public and political uproar within the South.
In July, Kim declared an emergency and sealed off a border city after an individual with Covid-19 signs illegally crossed the border into the North from the South.