Thursday 19 October 2017

Mystery surrounds woman shown at Kim's side

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attends the unveiling ceremony of two statues of former leaders Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang on April 13, 2012. Photo: Getty Images
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attends the unveiling ceremony of two statues of former leaders Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang on April 13, 2012. Photo: Getty Images

Peter Popham

HAIR trimmed in a neat bob, large eyes, a warm, self-confident smile, wearing a natty dark suit, the glamorous young woman has taken centre stage in recent days alongside North Korea's young supreme leader Kim Jong-un.

The typically careful presentation of the pair -- and nothing presentational is left to chance in North Korea -- suggested strongly that they were husband and wife; that here was North Korea's First Lady, or at least she is well on her way to being so.

But though happy to splash the photos around, official sources gave no clue as to her identity.

Intelligence sources claim that she is Hyon Song-wol, a local famous pop singer. Others claim it may be his sister -- a claim most have dismissed.

It is said Hyon Song-wol and Kim Jong-un were lovers in adolescence but that Kim's father, Kim Jong-il disapproved of the relationship and forced his son to break if off. Ms Hyon reportedly married an army officer and had a child with him.

Now the elder Kim is dead, it is suggested the younger man has gone back to his old flame and is positioning her to play an active role at his side.

The fact that Ms Hyon was famous may help to give focus to a public image, which has so far wavered between chubby adolescence and unconvincing bellicosity.

But if this really is Hyon Song-wol, whatever happened to her husband and son?

Irish Independent

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