Kim Jong-un's stylish wife makes surprise appearance at party celebrating nuclear achievements

Kim Jong-un's stylish wife makes surprise appearance at party celebrating nuclear achievements
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claps during a celebration for nuclear scientists and engineers who contributed to a hydrogen bomb test, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on September 10, 2017.
PHOTO: KCNA via Reuters

Now you see her, now you don't.

Rarely seen in public, First Lady Ri Sol-ju of North Korea, made a surprise appearance with a beaming Kim Jong-un at a recent celebration of the secretive nation's apparent nuclear achievements.

State media photos showed the leader's wife at the gala gathering to thank the military engineers who reportedly carried out the country's most powerful nuclear test to date.

Boasting sophisticated good looks like a K-drama queen, Ri was hidden away from public eye for the most part of this year, fuelling speculation that she might have given birth to the couple's third child.

News of the birth surfaced around the same time when the country gave the Japanese people the jitters when it shot a test missile over their heads in Hokkaido.

Last year, she was caught in a swirl of rumours that she might have have fallen out of favour after she was not seen in public for more than seven months. But she popped up in December when accompanying Kim at an air combat training competition, reinforcing her position as 'Lady Kim'.

Photo: Reuters

The couple are believed to have two kids, a boy and a girl. The third child is believed to be a boy, according to South Korean intelligence agents.

Ri, who is in her late 20s and several years younger than 33-year-old Kim, is thought to have brought a breath of fresh air to the dowdy uniformity of the strict regime, which has made enemies around the world because of its reckless nuclear tests and war threats.

Photo: AFP

THAT DIOR BAG

Praised for her stylish dress sense and ladylike demeanour, she has been seen in photos wearing a black dress which looks like a Chanel label and carrying a quilted-leather Dior evening bag.

But at the same time, her expensive taste also earned her brickbats as impoverished North Korea has seen famines that brought starvation to tens of thousands.

With her by his side at public events, Kim seems to have broken away from tradition. His grandfather, Kim Il-sung, the nation's founder, and his father Kim Jong-il were hardly seen or photographed with their spouses in public.

chenj@sph.com.sg

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