North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's wife has appeared in public for the first time in over a year yesterday, according to state media.
Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol Ju appeared at a concert side by side celebrating the birthday of deceased former leader Kim Jong II on February 16, also known as the day of the Shining Star holiday in North Korea.
The two entered the Mansudae Art Theater together and received "thunderous cheers" according to the Korean Central News Agency.
Ri Sol Ju's appearance comes the same day South Korea 's intelligence service sought to play down rumours over her "disappearance".
Ri was previously last seen in public at another concert with the DPRK leader in January 2020.
It was reported in 2020 her absence from the spotlight could be down to her expecting another child, however this is yet to eventuate.
Hong Min, director of the North Korean research division at Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), said: "[Her disappearance] could be due to Covid-19 ... As a mother with young children, participating in public activities risks potential infection.
"Even Kim Jong Un went on the lowest number of on-site guidances in the past year."
The couple are believed to have three children, with the youngest born in 2017, according to the South's intelligence service.
However, this week the South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS) reportedly told lawmakers she was likely avoiding appearances due to concerns over Covid-19, though nobody knows for certain.
Since Ri does not hold any formal government positions, she was not expected to attend any events with Kim over the last year.
Ri's appearance at the concert may reflect the North's apparent show of confidence in its Covid-19 campaign, experts have said.
Photos released by state media also showed attendees at the concert, including Kim and Ri, seated closely together without any face masks.
Pyongyang claims to be coronavirus-free, after sealing its borders and imposing strict restrictions on movement last year.