Thu, Aug 09, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Wife of North Korean leader pictured sporting a Christian Dior handbag

AFP, SEOUL

An undated photograph released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency via the Korea News Service on Tuesday shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, right, accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol-ju, during a visit to a unit of the Korean People’s Army. Ri was pictured sporting what appears to be a Christian Dior handbag.

Photo: AFP

North Korea’s young first lady has been pictured sporting what appears to be a Christian Dior handbag, in stark contrast to widespread shortages elsewhere in the impoverished nation.

Ri Sol-ju, the wife of leader Kim Jong-un, was pictured accompanying him on a “field guidance trip” to an army unit.

It was unclear whether the bag was genuine or an imitation. South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper yesterday said it would cost 1.8 million won (US$1,594) in Seoul.

Photos, carried by state television and the official news agency, show the couple applauding while seated together watching outdoor art performances by soldiers.

Ri was wearing a white dress with a black top and next to her is a small handbag, apparently with the luxury brand’s signature “D” metal tag.

The attractive and stylish young woman contrasts sharply with her husband, clad in his customary Mao-style dark suit, and with the army officers in olive drab uniforms and oversized peaked caps.

The photo was carried by state TV on Tuesday night, but the date of the field guidance trip was unclear.

The secretive communist state, in an unusual move, confirmed last month that Ri is Kim’s wife. Recent photos had shown the pair at public events together, sparking speculation about her identity.

Kim, believed to be in his late 20s, took over as leader after his father and longtime ruler Kim Jong-il died in December.

Disclosure of his marriage is seen as part of efforts to stress his maturity in a culture that puts high priority on family life.

The country of 24 million has suffered severe food shortages since a famine in the mid-1990s killed hundreds of thousands.

UN agencies estimated last autumn that 3 million people would need food aid this year.

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