State-owned media has confirmed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is married and his wife is named Ri Sol-Ju. The announcement comes after weeks of speculation that he was in a relationship as he was spotted in public with a lady.
Wife, lover or sister? After many rumors and speculations, the new and young North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is married, which has many people maintaining an optimistic view of the future because of his relationship with a young lady named Ri Sol-Ju.
North Korean TV did not provide any more detail as to who the young lady is or when the two got married. It only reported that they took part in a ceremony to celebrate the completion of an amusement park in Pyongyang.
“Marshal Kim Jong-Un took part in the opening ceremony of Nungra People's Amusement Park with his wife, Comrade Ri Sol-Ju,” state-owned media reported this week. It added that the two were given an “enthusiastic welcome” upon arrival.
It is also unclear as to when Kim and his mystery wife, who some are speculating is a young singer, visited the park. A soldier builder and a female employee presented the duo with a bouquet of flowers.
According to Agence-France Presse, The world got a first glimpse of the leader’s new wife on Jul. 5 when she was spotted with Jong-un at a concert in Pyongyang. Three days later, she was seen again standing next to him when he visited a mausoleum of the nation’s founder and his grandfather Kim Il-Sung. On Jul. 24, photos were posted by state-television showing Sol-Ju being near him during a visit to a kindergarten.
With Jong-un’s behaviour that is opposite of the way his father, Kim Jong-Il, acted, many are beginning to be hopeful of the future. The new leader of the impoverished and struggling nation has been seen hugging soldiers, linking arms with women, posing for photographs with military personnel and living an informal lifestyle.
Officials state, however, that he is certainly in charge of the country, even though he has had little time to prepare himself as he is reported to be in his late-20s. He took over the country in December when his father passed away at the age of 70 from a suspected heart attack.
Randall Baran-Chong, executive director of HanVoice, told Digital Journal in an email that the situation currently going on is rather "unusual compared to his father, and the public exhibition of his wife is more similar to his grandfather, Kim Il-Sung and his wife, Kim Jong-Suk."
"His father was far more secretive with his personal affairs, including wives and children (for example, we only gleaned some information on the children through the Kim family's personal sushi chef)," explained the HanVoice director. "Much alike his grandfather as well, he is not afraid of displaying emotions, smiling broadly, laughing with other officials, unlike his more stoic father."
Meanwhile, as some hope for change in the country, Baran-Chong stated that it's still to premature to determine whether or not things will get better. He added that although Jong-un has sent officials abroad to study different economic systems, there has been virtually no improvements to the human rights condition.
"As long as the North Korean prison camps (kwanliso) still stand as torture camps and its people still live in oppression of their basic freedoms, we consider it business as usual from a human rights perspective, and we, along with organizations around the world, will continue to fight for those freedoms."
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