Kim Jong Un’s aunt reappears after 6 years, Latest World News - The New Paper

Kim Jong Un’s aunt reappears after 6 years

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SEOUL: The influential aunt of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made her first public appearance in six years, state media reported on Sunday, years after her husband was executed in a purge.

Ms Kim Kyong Hui is the sister of former North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il and took a leading role during the first years of Mr Kim Jong Un's rule.

She had largely disappeared from public view since 2013, after Mr Kim Jong Un ordered the execution of her husband, Mr Jang Song Thaek, seen as the second most powerful man in the North at the time.

On Sunday, state media showed Ms Kim Kyong Hui sitting near Mr Kim Jong Un at a performance celebrating the Chinese New Year in Pyongyang.


"Many North Korea watchers had assumed that Kim Kyong Hui had gone into exile or even been killed in the wake of her husband's death, so to see her pop up by the leader's side some six years later is certainly a surprise," said Mr Oliver Hotham, managing editor of NK News, a Seoul-based organisation that monitors North Korea.

"The sudden appearance of major officials in a regime like North Korea's is always massively important," said Mr Michael Madden, a North Korea leadership expert with the Washington-based Stimson Centre.

"Even if she does not have a political office or formal position in the regime, making a personal appearance like this is a public demonstration of support for her nephew," he said.

"It is a strong expression of Kim family unity...It is also a reminder of how weird and brutal North Korea is." - REUTERS