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Tuesday, June 04, 2019, 11:01
Kim's sister back in public eye at DPRK's mass games
By Associated Press
Tuesday, June 04, 2019, 11:01 By Associated Press

In this June 3, 2019 photo, by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) government, DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, center, waves with his wife Ri Sol Ju, center left, during the grand gymnastics and artistic performance at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang. The woman next to Ri Sol Ju appears to be Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, who state media said attended the performance. (KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY / KOREA NEWS SERVICE / AP)

SEOUL — The powerful younger sister of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong Un attended a public event in Pyongyang for the first time in more than 50 days, casting further doubt on media speculation he had ordered her to lay low over the failed nuclear summit with Washington.

Kim Yo Jong is a senior official of the DPRK's ruling party and is believed to be her brother's closest confidant. She had accompanied him to his summits with Trump

The DPRK's state media on Tuesday showed Kim Yo Jong clapping aside her brother, his wife and other top officials at the 150,000-seat May Day Stadium where thousands of gymnasts, dancers and flip-card-wielding spectators worked in precise unison to perform The Land of the People.

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The official Korean Central News Agency said Kim Jong Un was unhappy about Monday's performance and had seriously criticized the creators for their "wrong spirit of creation and irresponsible work attitude" and set forth "important tasks" to correctly implement the country's revolutionary policy on literature and art.

This June 3, 2019, photo, by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) government shows the grand gymnastics and artistic performance at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang. (KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY / KOREA NEWS SERVICE / AP)

State media often reports on Kim scolding factory officials, educators and others perceived as not performing to his standards. The mass games events were once routine in the DPRK but were on hiatus for several years during the mourning for Kim's father and only returned last year.

Kim Yo Jong is a senior official of the DPRK's ruling party and is believed to be her brother's closest confidant. She had accompanied him to his summits with US President Donald Trump and the Republic of Korea (ROK) President Moon Jae-in and had joined other dignitaries in the stands at last year's Winter Olympics in the ROK. The DPRK media had last shown her at a meeting of the North's rubber-stamp parliament in April.

People watch a TV screen showing an image of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong Un, third from left, and senior DPRK official Kim Yong Chol, right, in a musical performance by the wives of Korean People's Army officers in the DPRK during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, June 3, 2019. (AHN YOUNG-JOON / AP)

The ROK's conservative Chosun Ilbo newspaper last week cited an unidentified source to report that Kim Jong Un had ordered his sister to lay low following the collapse of his summit with Trump in February over mismatched demands in sanctions relief and nuclear disarmament. The newspaper had also reported Kim had punished his former top nuclear envoy, Kim Yong Chol, who the DPRK media showed at the mass games and at a weekend concert of military wives.

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In this March 2, 2019 photo, Kim Yo Jong, sister of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong Un attends a wreath-laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam. (JORGE SILVA / POOL PHOTO / AP)

The ROK's government and media have a mixed record on tracking developments among the DPRK's ruling elite, made difficult by Pyongyang's stringent control of information about them.

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