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Kim Jong Un's Wife Appears In Public For The First Time This Year

Ri Sol Ju accompanied her husband to a men's football match that was part of the anniversary celebrations of the birth of North Korea's founder, Kim Il-Sung.

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Ri Sol Ju, the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, has appeared in public for the first time this year, the country's state-run Korea Central News Agency said.

North Korea's Rodong Sinmun front page: Kim Jong Un's wife Ri Sol Ju makes her first public appearance in four months

The pair were pictured flanked by party officials while attending a men's football match at the Kim Il Sung Stadium in Pyongyang. The match was held as part of anniversary celebrations for the North Korean founder's birth.

The match was one of a string of sporting and cultural events held to mark the 103rd birthday of Kim Il-Sung — Kim Jong Un's grandfather — which falls on Wednesday.

The "Day Of The Sun," held on April 15 since 1997, is designated as a two-day national holiday in the reclusive nation, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said said.

Ri's appearance ends an unexplained absence of over four months away from the public eye. The last time she had been seen was in December 2014 at a commemoration of the third anniversary of the death of Kim's father, Kim Jong-Il, AFP reported.

Kcna Kcna / Reuters

Ri Sol Ju and Kim Jong Un visit the Kumsusan Palace in December

The North Korean government revealed that Kim Jong Un had married in December 2012, after a stylish young woman — later revealed to be Ri — was pictured accompanying the young leader to state events.

Before the marriage, it was rare for the wives of the country's leaders to appear alongside their husbands, AFP said.

Only limited information is known about Ri — a former member of the country's Unhasu Orchestra — and her absence from the limelight only fueled speculation about the couple's private lives further.

Last year, Kim Jong Un also himself disappeared from public view for several weeks.

Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Francis Whittaker at francis.whittaker@buzzfeed.com.

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