SEOUL—Kim Jong Un’s wife made her first public appearance in more than a year when she attended a concert celebrating one of North Korea’s major holidays.
Ri Sol Ju, who is believed to be in her early 30s, had been absent from state media since Jan. 25, 2020, when she was photographed at a Lunar New Year’s Day theater performance. Ms. Ri’s public absence fueled speculation that she could be pregnant, ill, caring for a sick relative or purged.
South Korea’s spy agency this week told lawmakers Ms. Ri’s low profile could be due to concerns about Covid-19.
But at the Tuesday concert, North Korea’s first lady was shown smiling and without a face mask, sitting next to Mr. Kim in a crowded Pyongyang theater. She watched a song-and-dance performance honoring the birthday of Kim Jong Il, the current leader’s late father, during the country’s “Day of the Shining Star” holiday.
Ms. Ri, first mentioned as Kim Jong Un’s wife in 2012, initially appeared often in state media, a move that Pyongyang watchers said was aimed at humanizing the fresh-faced dictator. In 2018, she traveled to Beijing when her husband met Chinese leader Xi Jinping, then later played host during other state visits to Pyongyang by foreign leaders like South Korean President Moon Jae-in.