Pregnancy Rumor Growing Faster than 2nd Child

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Rumors that Kim Jong Eun’s wife Ri Sol Joo is pregnant continue to spread in North Korea.

One inside source told Daily NK on the 15th, “After Ri Sol Joo stopped appearing on Chosun Central TV and in Rodong Shinmun, where she had been appearing quite regularly up to then, the rumor that it is because she is pregnant started to spread really fast.”

“Sharp-eyed women had been mentioning a possible pregnancy every time she appeared on Chosun Central TV anyway, but in particular when they saw her visiting Changjeon Street homes in September they said ‘The Marshal’s wife seems to be pregnant with their second child’,” the source went on. The notion that Ri gave birth to the couple’s first child back in 2009 is accepted as more-or-less fact in much of North Korea, rather than a rumor.

It was on the 5th of last month that Ri visited new homes on Pyongyang’s Changjeon Street with Kim Jong Eun to deliver birthday foods and gifts. There is further circumstantial evidence; for example, when Ri and Kim attended the opening of Reungra People’s Resort, Ri appeared in every picture except those of Kim on a rollercoaster. Given that even Kim’s aunt, the ailing Kim Kyung Hee, did take the ride, this lends weight to the pregnancy hypothesis.

Defector Hyun Chul Hwa (44) said of all the speculation, “When Kim Jong Eun visited the Changjeon Street homes, she showed her side profile while washing dishes at the Pyongyang Mechanical University teacher’s home. Then, she seemed pregnant. Even at the Reungra People’s Resort opening event she was often seen with her hands behind her back, which could indicate a pregnant woman maintaining her balance.”

However, a gynecologist consulted by Daily NK said that there is no conclusive evidence among that presented, and advised against assuming too much.

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Kang Mi Jin is a North Korean defector turned journalist who fled North Korea in 2009. She has a degree in economics and writes largely on marketization and economy-related issues for Daily NK. Many of her articles are featured in the Jangmadang section of the Daily NK website. She has been interviewed by the New York Times and LA Times, among others, and is a contributor on North Korea issues for TBS and KBS.