North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Ok Visiting Beijing?

Kim Ok (highlighted) walks with other members of the DPRK’s central leadership at the grand opening event for the recreation facility on Nu’ngna Island in Pyongyang on 24 July 2012. According to South Korean media reporting, Kim Ok has visited Beijing several times to receive medical treatments. Also seen in this image are several DPRK elites with ties to Kim Ok: Jang Song Taek (L), VMar Kim Yong Chun (C) and VMar Kim Jong Gak (R) (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap)

South Korean media reports that Kim Ok, the fifth (or fourth) wife (or significant consort) of Kim Jong Il, has been observed visiting Beijing, possibly to received medical treatments.  A two decade veteran of the central party and recipient of the Order of Kim Jong Il, Kim Ok regularly traveled outside the DPRK with KJI.  She has also been observed accompanying both Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol Ju at various events.  An anonymous source told Yonhap News Agency, “Kim Ok has been seen at the Beijing Capital International Airport on several occasions and we understand the visits are to treat the woman’s diseases. . .Kim Ok, who is in her early 50s, has various ailments.”  Yonhap reports:

The rumored fourth wife of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has recently flown to Beijing on several occasions apparently to visit doctors, informed sources said Sunday.

“Kim Ok has been seen at the Beijing Capital International Airport on several occasions and we understand the visits are to treat the woman’s diseases,” a source said, asking anonymity. “We’ve heard that Kim Ok, who is in her early 50s, has various ailments.”

The de facto first lady during the waning years of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s reign was recently seen attending official functions in Pyongyang despite rumors of illness or a possible ouster.

North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong-un, a son of Kim Jong-il, recently removed the head of the North’s 1.2-million strong military in an apparent move to consolidate power.

Kim Ok, a former secretary to Kim Jong-il, is said to have started playing first lady in 2004 after the late leader’s wife Ko Yong-hui died of breast cancer. Ko is the mother of the current North Korean leader, believed to be in his late 20s.

Kim Ok accompanied Kim Jong-il on his visits to China and Russia and attended the late leader’s meetings with South Korean business representatives.

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