The once-powerful aunt of North Korea strongman Kim Jong-un, who had not been seen in public since the downfall and execution of her husband, has reappeared as a guest of honor at an official Lunar New Year’s Day celebration.
Kim Kyong-hui, a full sister of Kim Il-sung who held significant sway in North Korean politics under her father and, later, her brother, had not been seen since 2013. In December of that year her husband, the powerful general Jang Song-thaek, met with an unexpected political and physical demise. His arrest during a politburo meeting was shown by state television; he was accused of treason then executed by firing squad.
Jang’s downfall led to media speculation that his family would also be purged. Kim Kyong-hui’s subsequent disappearance from public view led to rumors of her imprisonment, of suicide, of a secret poisoning or death from health problems.
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