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Wife of North Korean leader makes first public appearance this year

The couple attended a football match held in honor of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.

By Elizabeth Shim
Wife of North Korean leader makes first public appearance this year
Ri Sol Ju, wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, reappeared in public for the first time in four months at Kim Il Sung Stadium on Monday. Photo by KCNA/Yonhap

SEOUL, North Korea, April 14 (UPI) -- The wife of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un made her first public appearance of 2015 on Monday at Kim Il Sung Stadium, where a football match was held in honor of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung's 103rd birthday.

Ri Sol Ju, whom North Korea officially recognizes as Kim Jong Un's wife, "Comrade Ri Sol Ju," was last seen Dec. 17., South Korea's Kyunghyang Sinmun reported. The event was a public memorial observing the third anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il, the father of the current leader.

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The couple were wearing expensive accessories, Yonhap reported.

Ri donned a ring that is assumed to be her wedding band, an unusual move in a country where neither men nor women frequently wear wedding rings outside the home.

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Kim Jong Un, who attended school in Switzerland, flashed a watch from Patek Philippe, the Geneva-based luxury watch manufacturer. He also kept a supply of cigarettes on the table.

Kim Il Sung's birth anniversary, which is Wednesday, has been dubbed the "Day of the Sun" by Pyongyang.

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The sporting event held in Kim Il Sung's honor was a football match between two teams that represented the Laborers and Farmers Red Army and the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth Coalition, with the former beating the latter, 3 to 1 on Monday.

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Model gliders from the Pyongyang Air Club flew the skies during intermission and a gun salute to the founder's anniversary were observed by the couple as well as by North Korea's top-ranking officials Choe Ryong Hae, Kim Yang Gon and Workers' Party Secretary Kim Pyong Hae.

Ri's year of birth is not known but her family is reportedly from the political elite. She is a graduate of Kim Il Sung University.

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