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Kim Jong Un’s Aunt Appears in Public for First Time in Six Years

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 1/26/2020 Jihye Lee
Kim Jong-un wearing a black hat: Kim Jong Un, North Korea's leader, prepares for his departure to North Korea at the railway station in Vladivostok, Russia, on Friday, April 26, 2019. Kim said the summit will be a “starting point for productive talks on cooperation,” Vesti TV reported him as saying in an interview. © Bloomberg Kim Jong Un, North Korea's leader, prepares for his departure to North Korea at the railway station in Vladivostok, Russia, on Friday, April 26, 2019. Kim said the summit will be a “starting point for productive talks on cooperation,” Vesti TV reported him as saying in an interview.

(Bloomberg) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s aunt, Kim Kyong Hui, appeared in state media on Sunday, the first time she has been seen in public since her husband Jang Song Thaek was executed in 2013.

The 73-year-old sat two seats away from her nephew, according to a photo by Korean Central News Agency. The leader’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, and North Korea’s de facto second-in-command, Choe Ryong Hae, also attended the orchestra performance in Pyongyang, the report said.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service had previously said that Kim Kyong Hui was receiving treatment near North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, Joongang Ilbo reported in 2017. She had stepped aside from playing a core role in the leadership of Kim Jong Il, the current leader’s late father, the report said.

The latest appearance of Kim Jong Un alongside his aunt, sister and wife could be the North Korean leadership’s way of emphasizing blood ties as state media has repeatedly warned of a country’s “new path” for 2020. Kim announced in a New Year’s speech that he was no longer bound by his promise to U.S. President Donald Trump to halt major missile and nuclear tests.

KCNA also confirmed North Korea had replaced its foreign minister with Ri Son Gwon, who served as an army officer and led North Korea’s talks with South Korea.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jihye Lee in Seoul at jlee2352@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Sharon Chen, Stanley James

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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