Pregnancy speculation has sparked after Kim Jong-Un’s wife was pictured looking noticeably fuller at a first anniversary memorial to mark the death of ex-leader Kim Jong-il.
Officially released shots of Kim Jong-Un — son and successor of Kim Jong-il — standing next to his wife, Ri Sul-joo, are now being scrutinized around the world and perhaps marked with red circles.
Wearing black mourning clothes in the shots and with no official word from North Korean state, it’s impossible to verify whether the North Korean First Lady actually is with child.
According to The Daily Telegraph, pregnancy rumors began two month ago after Sul-joo “failed to appear in public for 50 days.”
Officially introduced as Jong-Un’s wife in July this year and seen at various state occasions, her subsequent absence triggered rumors that she was either out of favor — or pregnant.
But it was when a domestic newspaper — Chosun Ilbo — quoted a South Korean government source’s comments that Ri looked puffy and that her stomach was “visibly bulging”, that pregnancy speculation grew.
“She [Ri Sul-joo] is wearing a long coat but cannot hide her protruding abdomen,” the Chosun Ilbo reported the source saying, adding that she appeared to be about “three months pregnant.”
At the memorial, Kim Jong-Un, led his wife and the thousands that attended in an ornate ceremony outside Kumsusan Palace, bowing in front of huge statues of regime founder Kim Il-sung.
The Daily Telegraph notes that if ex-singer Sul-joo is indeed pregnant, a male child is “likely to be groomed to take over the dynastic regime that was founded by Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, at the end of the Second World War.”
In the past few days, North Korea successfully launched a satellite into space last Wednesday despite international warnings from the US, Japan, UN, and South Korea who believe the regime is attempting to perfect long range missile technology ahead of future attacks.
That eventuality remains to be seen, as does confirmation — or denial — of Ri-Sul joo’s possible baby bump.