North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s aunt reappears after six years
The aunt of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un has been seen in public for the first time since the execution of her husband in 2013.
Kim Kyong-hui is the daughter of North Korea's founder, Kim Il-sung, and sister to former leader Kim Jong-il.
She had not been seen since her husband, Chang Song-thaek, was executed by her nephew for "acts of treachery".
But on Sunday, state media released a photo of her enjoying new year celebrations.
The photo, released by North Korea's state news agency KCNA, showed Kim Kyong-hui seated next to Kim Jong-un and his wife in a crowded theatre in Pyongyang. She was also included in the list of top-ranking officials in attendance.
It puts an end to speculation about her fate in the years since Kim Jong-un ordered her husband's execution, who was largely considered to be the second-most powerful man in North Korea at the time.
Oliver Hotham, editor at NK News, which covers events in the reclusive nation, said her appearance was a surprise.
"Many North Korea watchers had assumed that Kim Kyong-hui had gone into exile or even killed in the wake of her husband's death," he told Reuters.
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Her appearance seated next to the leader suggested she had retained – or regained – significant influence, he added – possibly as an advisor.
"It's also a reminder of how weird and brutal North Korea is, after all she's sitting next to the man who ordered her husband's execution."
Kim Kyong-hui and her husband Chang Song-thaek were major players within the North Korean state at the time of their nephew's aRead More – Source