Kim Jong-un’s wife vanishes sparking fears she’s been executed or fallen ill
Kim Jong-un’s wife is feared sick or even executed as she has not been seen in public for ten months.
North Korea's 'Respected First Lady' Ri Sol-ju, 31, last appeared in state media on January 25 when she joined her dictator husband at a Lunar New Year performance at a theatre in Pyongyang.
The couple were spotted sitting beside Kim’s 74-year-old aunt Kim Kyong-hui, who had been absent from public affairs for more than six years after helping him rise to power.
Despite a number of key national events in the communist state being held since January, Ri Sol-ju was not pictured at any of them.
Her unexplained disappearance has sparked speculation that she could have been executed by the ruthless dictator.
Kim Kyong-hui’s husband, Jang Song-thaek, 67, suffered execution in December 2013 once Kim Jong-un replaced his dead father Kim Jong-il, 70, two years earlier.
The most recent event at which Ri's absence was notable, was North Korea's military parade on October 10 – an event she has previously appeared at.
A source told Daily NK, a website run by defectors in Seoul, South Korea, that her absence has been noted and discussion about why she has not been seen has been going on for months.
There are three “rumours” circulating, the source claimed.
The first is that Ri is suffering some sort of health issue although this is not the leading theory, according to the report.
Some believe she is caring for Kim’s aunt, Kim Kyong-hui, seen at Lunar New Year event in January.
Kyong-hui, who is the younger sister of Kim Jong-il is thought to be in poor health.
Daily NK reported: "This rumour is the most prevalent in the society given that it has been spread by people with 'quick access to information'.”
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It’s believed Kim has a lot of “affection” for his aunt after he executed her husband and makes sure she is “specially cared for” as he treats her like a “family elder”.
There is also speculation Ri is focusing on the education of the couple’s daughter, who is said to have been born in 2013, which would make her old enough to go to primary school.
But the website reported: "This would only be true, however, if Ju-ae started school normally like other children.
"Some North Koreans reportedly believe that Ri, as Ju-ae’s mother, would naturally manage her daughter’s education-related activities, including those activities that focus on her role as the daughter of the country’s leader."
During a visit to North Korea in September 2013 the retired American basketball player Dennis Rodman told reporters he had held the baby and she was called Ju-ae.
Another theory circulating in South Korea is that Ri’s disappearance is due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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