The Leaderboard profiles the people behind the policies of the Asia-Pacific. This post features Mrs. Ri Sol Ju the First Lady of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Who is she?
Ri Sol Ju is the first lady of North Korea, married to the 28-year-old leader Kim Jong-un.
Why is she in the news?
She has been dubbed the “mystery woman” next to the dear leader. North Korean state media released photos of her accompanying Kim Jong-un to Kim Il-sung’s mausoleum, a Disney-themed performance, a children’s center, and a theme park. On July 25th, the North Korean media officially stated that she was “comrade Ri Sol Ju, the wife of Marshall Kim Jong-un.” The first lady received a foreign official, Chinese Ambassador Liu Hongcai, at the theme park on the 25th. She has gained immense attention worldwide, and has become especially popular in South Korea – she made the number one internet search and even has her own fan club. This comprises another piece of the leadership transition in North Korea, signaling the continuation of the Kim family regime.
What can we expect from her?
The presence of a first lady can imbue a feeling of stability and peace into North Korea ruled by a 28 year-old Kim Jong-un. Kim Jong-un can also differentiate himself from the dear father and lovingly grandfather – often idolized with a superhuman intelligence that surpasses all others – with a more humane face, while reinforcing his leadership style of reaching out to the people. Previous leaders Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung have rarely revealed their wives in public.