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Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 07/26/2012

When Kim Jong Eun met Ri Sol Ju: A North Korean love story

As Rod Stewart reminded us, “even the president needs passion,” and it turns out, even Supreme Leaders need love.   


North Korean leader Kim Jong Eun and his wife, Ri Sol Ju. (Reuters)
The relationship between the United States and North Korea  has not been a warm one since  1948, when Eternal President Kim Il Sung established the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.  Relations  between the two countries did not get any better during the reign of Kim’s son, Kim Jong Il, who succeeded his father as North Korea’s Supreme Leader and escalated its nuclear weapons program after promising not to. 

Kim Jong Eun is the latest in the line to inherit the far eastern tip of the axis of evil and, so far, like so many other things about him, his outlook toward the United States is unknown. North Korea-watchers focused on signs of foreign policy thaws in the family that has controlled the communist government for three generations are still wondering how we will fare with the most recent scion of its dynastic Kims.  

Of the many American ideals historically reviled by North Korea, however, at least for the Kim family, our film culture has been an exception.    

Kim Jong Il, who died last year, was a film buff known to be a fan of James Bond movies.  

His youngest son, baby faced Jong Eun, who went to a Swiss boarding school, seems to prefer animation.  He was seen recently enjoying a live performance featuring unauthorized Disney characters.  A fondness for Mickey Mouse is encouraging when evaluating someone who presumably will handle those nuclear codes.

Even more hopeful is what could be interpreted as a penchant for romantic comedies. (We know he likes performers and romance.)  When love is in one’s heart, how can there be room for nuclear warfare? 

Now we have the news that the new leader has taken a bride.  The North Korean state news agency announced Wednesday that the attractive young woman seen recently at Kim’s side during public appearances is his wife, Ri Sol Ju.  

They seem to like each other.  Reuters reports that recent state TV footage “showed the two laughing with each other, touching a child's hair together and clapping while watching a performance.”

No word on how they met.  Some reports say they married in 2009. Given the staging the North Korean army has put into Kim’s ascension, it could even be an arranged marriage.  

If so, they chose his co-star wisely. Before Ri took on the performance of a lifetime, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency, the new Mrs. Kim “had been a member of a troupe of performance artists and had received etiquette training for about six months before taking on the role of first lady.”

It may be a while before we see her get the Vogue treatment, like Syrian first lady Asma Assad, but the dictator’s wife will certainly make the images out of Pyongyang a lot more attractive.  How long will it be before casting auditions begin for toddlers to complete the picture?  

Bonnie Goldstein is on Twitter @KickedByAnAngel.

By  |  04:00 PM ET, 07/26/2012

Tags:  Ri Sol-ju, DPRK, North Korea, Kim Jong-un, Kim Il-song, Kim jong-il

 
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