Ri Sol-ju

First Lady of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Ri Sol-ju (Korean: 리설주; born; 28 September 1989)[1] is a former North Korean singer and cheerleader and the current first lady of North Korea as the wife of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

Respected First Lady

Ri Sol-ju
First Lady of North Korea
Assumed role
15 April 2018
Supreme LeaderKim Jong-un
Preceded byKim Song-ae
Personal details
Born (1989-09-28) 28 September 1989 (age 34)
North Korea
NationalityNorth Korean
Kim Jong-un (m. 2009)
Children3 (alleged)
RelativesKim family
Alma materKim Il-sung University (PhD)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationRi Seol-ju
McCune–ReischauerRi Sŏlju

Biography change

Early life change

Not much information is known about her origins; some analysts have said her name is almost certainly a pseudonym. Reportedly she was born in 28 September 1989. Her family is reportedly of the political elite; her mother is said to be the head of a gynecology ward and her father is a professor.[2][1][3]

She is also said to be related to Ri Pyong-chol, a former anti-air force general of the Korean People's Army and a close advisor to Kim Jong-un. It is said that North Korean officials are trying to erase her past as a singer by removing popular bootleg CDs of her performances.[4] Ri is reportedly a graduate student from Kim Il-sung University, pursing a PhD in science.

Ri reportedly visited South Korea in 2005, as a member of a North Korean cheerleading team during the Asian Athletic Championships.[5]

Marriage and family change

Kim Jong-il had quickly arranged and ordered Ri Sol-ju to get married to his son, Kim Jong-un after suffering a stroke in 2008.[6] They both got married in 2009, although the marriage date is unknown.

She possibly gave birth to a boy in 2010.[7] In December 2012, it was said that Ri was visibly pregnant, although North Korean officials did not confirm anything.[8]

In 2013, American basketball player, Dennis Rodman had visited North Korea to meet Kim and told The Guardian in September 2013 that she had gave birth to a girl named “Kim Ju-ae”.[9] South Korean intelligence officials claim she had gave birth to a third child in 2017 although the gender remains unknown.

First Lady of North Korea change

Ri attending the April 2018 inter-Korean summit with her husband Kim Jong-un along with South Korean president Moon Jae-in and South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook.

In July 2012, North Korean officials had said that she was Kim's wife, “Comrade Ri Sol-ju” after people thought she was not Kim's wife.[10] From 2012 through 2014, she appeared in the North Korean media, with her husband to events. She had spent much time out the public eye for three years.[11]

In 2018, Ri took on a diplomatic role and in March 2018 , she had visited China with her husband meeting Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan.[12] Ri was said to have made back to back summits and meetings with her husband to China five times, and in April 2018, ahead of the 2018 inter-Korean summit.[13]

She had also met the first lady of South Korea, Kim Jung-sook for the first time. The two first ladies were seen being very close and it said they became friends.[14]

Fashion Influence change

South China Morning Post briefly stated that Ri's fashion became an instant hit after she accompanied her husband to a surprise visit to China in March 2018.

During the visitation summit to China, it was said she wore a camel cropped jacket with a matching midi skirt and court shoes with a necklace, ear studs, and a shiny pink and gold butterfly-shaped brooch.

Ri also wore a white jacket and an apple green dress with a brown flower-shaped ribbon brooch and a nude leather clutch and at a lunch with Xi and Peng at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where her and husband stayed, she changed into an ivory two-piece dress with floral decorations on the collar and soft frilled sleeves. [15]

References change

  1. 1.0 1.1 "(LEAD) N. Korean leader's wife visited S. Korea in 2005: spy agency". Yonhap News. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  2. Thayer, Nate (26 July 2012). "North Korea IDs Mystery Woman as Kim Jong-Un's Wife – But Who Is She, Really?". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 5 May 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  3. Joohee Cho (26 July 2012). "North Korea's First Lady Was Cheerleader, Ditches Drab Outfits". ABC News. Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  4. "N.Korea Squanders Millions on Kim Family Cult". Chosun Ibo. 30 October 2012. Archived from the original on 29 August 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  5. Ju-min Park (25 July 2012). "North Korea leader's wife can teach him about the enemy". Reuters. Archived from the original on 5 March 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  6. "Keeping up with the Kims: North Korea's elusive first family". BBC News. 29 August 2017. Archived from the original on 11 June 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  7. O'Connor, Tom (30 December 2017). "Who are Kim Jong Un's children and does North Korea have an heir?". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  8. Boehler, Patrick (17 December 2012). "Another Lil' Kim? Wife of North Korea's Kim Jong Un Appears 'Heavily Pregnant'". Time. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  9. "Dennis Rodman's slip gives away name of North Korean leader's baby" Archived 9 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian.
  10. Sang-hun Choe (25 July 2012). "North Korean Leader Marries". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  11. Emma Prestwich (1 November 2016). "Ri Sol-Ju, Kim Jong-Un's Wife, Hasn't Been Spotted In Public In 7 Months". Huffington Post Canada. Archived from the original on 6 August 2018. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  12. Steven Lee Myers (27 March 2018). "Kim Jong-un Met With Xi Jinping in Secret Beijing Visit". New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  13. "North Korea rolls out red carpet for Xi Jinping – in pictures". The Guardian. 21 June 2019. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  14. "Inter-Korea summit: First ladies to bond over shared love of music". Straits Times. 18 September 2018. Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  15. "Kim Jong-un's wife becomes an instant hit in China". South China Morning Post. 2018-03-28. Retrieved 2022-08-08.