Kim Jong Un May No Longer Be 'Chairman'

State media now referring to North Korean leader as 'president'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2021 6:11 AM CST
Updated Feb 17, 2021 6:49 AM CST
After 13-Month Absence, Kim Jong Un's Wife Appears
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju watch a performance marking the birthday of Kim Jong Il, in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Tuesday.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

Kim Jong Un's wife has appeared in public for the first time in more than a year. Ri Sol Ju, who has a habit of disappearing from the public eye and last appeared in public for the Lunar New Year holiday in January 2020, accompanied her husband to a concert honoring the birthday of former leader and Kim's late father, Kim Jong Il, on Tuesday, state media reported, per Reuters. Photos show the couple, who are thought to have three children, laughing together at Pyongyang's Mansudae Art Theatre on the holiday known as Day of the Shining Star. No masks were seen among the crowd, seated closely together.

Earlier Tuesday, South Korea's National Intelligence Service told lawmakers that Ri was keeping out of the public eye over fears about coronavirus. Some had speculated that her health was suffering or that she was pregnant, per the BBC. The outlet notes state media has just recently begun to refer to Kim as "president," a title usually reserved for his grandfather and North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung. Kim, whose previous title was "chairman," was also said to have laid wreaths at the mausoleum housing the bodies of his father and grandfather on Tuesday. (Ri was targeted in last year's leaflet campaign.)

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