North Korea has said its new leader is married, announcing the union for the first time in routine state TV report.
The bulletin, which aired on Wednesday evening, ended weeks of speculation about a woman who accompanied Kim Jung-un to recent public events.
Kim toured an amusement park with his “wife, comrade Ri Sol-ju” on Tuesday, while a crowd cheered for the leader, the speaker said without giving any more details about Ri, including how long they had been married.
Seven months after inheriting the country from his father, Kim Jong-il, the 20-something leader has been shown in the media several times with the young woman, including at a concert where Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters appeared and at tours of various North Korean sites.
While the woman has no been identified until now, media and analysts in South Korea were quick to guess that she was his wife. Kim’s public appearances with the woman are a striking change from his father’s style. Kim Jong-il’s 17-year rule was known for its secrecy.
His companions and his children weren’t mentioned by state media, including Kim Jong-un, who was virtually unknown before his formal introduction to the world in late 2010.
The new leader’s style is considered more similar to his grandfather, North Korea founder Kim Il-sung, who built homes, parks and schools and was often shown alongside his wife, Kim Jong-suk, and with children in his arms.
The speculation about Kim Jong-un’s private life has coincided with high tension on the Korean Peninsula following a North Korean long-range rocket launch in April and repeated threats by Pyongyang to attack the South.