North Korea's First Lady Ri Sol Ju may have received a ban from public appearances for her failure to wear badges of the country's former leaders on previous public occasions, the South Korean media reported.
Ri Sol Ju has accompanied her husband Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, on 18 of the his past 26 public occasions since the country's state media announced their marriage on July 25. [File Photo]
The 27-year-old woman has accompanied her husband Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, on 18 of the his past 26 public occasions since the country's state media announced their marriage on July 25, reports said.
But according to scrupulous North Korea watchers, Ri has been out of the public eye for nearly 40 days ever since her public appearance on September 3, when the couple visited the families of working people who had moved into the new flats on Changjon Street.
The first lady was noticeably absent from a recent high-profile event at the 67th founding anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea on Oct. 10, where Kim Jong Un, several top officials and Kim's aunt, who has been receiving treatment abroad, attended a worshipping ceremony at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace for the nation's deceased top leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, JoongAng Ilbo Daily reported.
On Oct. 11, the South Korea media cited a source familiar with DPRK protocol in saying that the first lady seldom wore any badges of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on the most public occasions with her husband, provoking much criticism among the country's ruling party's veterans as well as the army who deemed her so-called behavior to bet "completely unacceptable, with repercussions to ensue."
According to a North Korean rebel, the country's adults must adorn their formal wear with their top leaders' badges on formal occasions; a rule nobody can or may violate, not even the country's first lady.
Different from his predecessors, Kim Jong Un, who ascended to power after his father Kim Jong Il died last December, chose to make frequent appearances accompanied by his wife, a move widely seen as a young leader trying to erase his image of an inexperienced young man in order to bolster his ruling over the country.
However, Ri's sudden disappearance reflects that Kim's ruling was in fact far from stable, analysts said. On the other hand, Ri was nothing more than a prop used to adorn Kim's image and this young woman can barely control her own destiny.
Earlier analysis said that Ri was facing great pressures with the fear of becoming another Song Hye Rim, Kim Jong Il's second wife, who is believed to have died in Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital in 2002 after years of estrangement.