Mystery Woman Likely Kim Jong-un's Wife

The mystery woman who has appeared three times with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in public since July 7 is likely to be his wife, experts and government officials here believe.

North Korean state TV on Sunday broadcast footage of Kim paying a visit to a kindergarten in Pyongyang with the woman next to him. She first appeared next to Kim at a performance on July 7 and was spotted the following day at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang paying tribute to the embalmed corpse of nation founder Kim Il-sung.

On Sunday she was wearing a polka dot dress with a cardigan and stood smiling next to Kim as he was holding the children in his arms or talking to them. "They looked like a happy couple," said one North Korea watcher.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and a woman believed to be his wife smile during their visit to a kindergarten in Pyongyang on Sunday. /[North] Korean Central TV-Yonhap North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and a woman believed to be his wife smile during their visit to a kindergarten in Pyongyang on Sunday. /[North] Korean Central TV-Yonhap

Given North Korea's strict protocol, the woman is unlikely to be anyone other than his wife, pundits say. Except for Kim Il-sung's second wife Kim Song-ae, no woman has ever been spotted standing next to the leader. Kim Jong-il had several wives, but they never appeared with him in public.

But it remains unclear who exactly the woman is, if indeed she is Kim Jong-un's wife. According to informed sources, she is 27 years old, graduated from Kim Il-sung University and married Kim Jong-un in 2009. She hails from Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province and her father is said to be a university professor and her mother a doctor. South Korean intelligence say they have no concrete information about her yet.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 16, 2012 09:24 KST