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Kim Jong-un's Wife Named as Ri Sol-ju: Who Is She?
By Hong Jin-su
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Ri Sol-ju, confirmed as the "first lady" of North Korea, made her first public appearance on July 7 as DPRK's Korean Central Television and the Rodong Sinmun website disclosed a video footage of her watching a Moranbong band performance together with Kim Jong-un, the first secretary of the Korean Worker's Party.

Immediately after the disclosure of Ri's video and photos, experts and media thought the woman to be Kim Yeo-jong, the first secretary's younger sister. Some made remarks about Hyun Song-wol, a former singer who used to front the Bochonbo Electronic Band and allegedly had a relationship with the first secretary Kim.

However, as Kim attended a series of public events with the same woman, opinions were expressed that this might be his wife. Ri stood beside Kim and clapped hands together and she followed Kim as he left the events-- typical first lady behaviors.

On July 8, when she visited Kumsusan Palace of the Sun to pay homage with the first secretary, her manners were confident while the high level military officers behaved in a carefully constrained way.

Kim Jong Un, center, accompanied by his wife Ri Sol Ju, center right, inspects the Rungna People's Pleasure Ground in Pyongyang. (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)



It also attracted people's attention that Ri's wardrobe was different from that of other North Korean ladies. Normally, a North Korean woman would appear in traditional Hanbok in any official event but Ri showed off a colorful two-piece outfit.

Jeong Seong-jang, senior researcher at Sejong Institute said, "It is currently confirmed that Ri Sol-ju is 27 years old, about 5 feet 4 inches and finished her study at a graduate school in North Korea's elite Kim Il-sung University.

Her family is from Sunam District in Cheongjin City, where her father works as a professor at the city's university and her mother as the Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at the district hospital."

Jeong continued, "First secretary Kim does not have complicated relationships with women as his father did and [disclosing the wife] can be interpreted as his statement to end such senseless conduct."

He added, "The decision may have been influenced by his experience in the Switzerland, where he had studied for four and a half years and tasted the Western culture, seeing how common it was for people to go to parties and gatherings with their spouses."

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