Kim Jong-un's Wife Gets New Honorific Title

Ri Sol-ju (left) accompanies her husband, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in a meeting with Chinese senior diplomat Song Tao (right) in Pyongyang on Saturday in this picture released by the [North] Korean Central News Agency.

The North Korean regime is raising the profile of leader Kim Jong-un's wife Ri Sol-ju, giving her a new honorific title and showcasing more of her public activities.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency reported Saturday that Ri attended a performance of "Giselle" by the visiting National Ballet of China along with Workers Party officials but without her husband.

KCNA said "revered first lady" Ri Sol-ju attended the performance with apparatchiks Choe Ryong-hae, Kim Yo-jong, Kim Yong-chol and Ri Su-yong.

The normal designation has been "comrade." The last time the state media used "revered first lady" was in 1974, referring to nation founder Kim Il-sung's wife Kim Song-ae.

A researcher at a state-run think tank here said, "Ri Sol-ju is playing a suitable role in repackaging Kim Jong-un as the leader of a normal nation. This sets her up to play the role of first lady in summits with South Korea and the U.S."

Meanwhile, North Korea rolled out the red carpet for a 200-member Chinese delegation led by Song Tao, head of the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department, who arrived in Pyongyang on Friday to mark the 106th birthday of Kim Il-sung. 

Kim Jong-un met Song twice including for a banquet, while his sister Kim Yo-jong greeted the Chinese diplomat at the airport.