The visit of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Il, though it hasn’t, as is customary, much troubled the attentions of state media, has excited social media. An employee at an LCD factory Kim visited on the outskirts of Nanjing this week uploaded a video that showed a woman believed to be Kim Ok accompanying the Dear Leader. In the screenshot above, she is the lady in the bright green jacket getting out of the back of the lead car from which Kim Jong Il had disembarked on the other side about 10 seconds earlier. (The full video can be viewd here.)
The 46-year old Kim has been the 70-year old Kim’s personal secretary since the 1980s and is widely believed to have been his consort, perhaps now his wife, since the death of third wife, Ko Young Hee, in 2004. There are unsubstantiated rumors that Kim Ok has born the Dear Leader a son, who is now seven years old.
Kim Ok is thought in intelligence circles to have become a person of considerable power and influence within the regime, having overseen Kim’s recovery from his suspected stroke in 2008. She is said to be a backer of the succession of Kim Jong Il’s third son, Kim Jong Un, whose mother was Ko.
The two Kims are often spotted together, if not photographed, in North Korea, where she is known as ‘the First Lady’. The couple are rarely seen abroad, but then neither is the Dear Leader. Intelligence sources in South Korea say she accompanied him on his 2006 visit to Beijing and also on his two visits last year, not surprising given her official role. The photograph on the right is taken from a U.S. government photograph of a meeting she attended at the Pentagon in Washington in 2000 and is about the only one of her ever published.
A decade on, the Nanjing video is a notable get on the part of the camera-phone paparazzi.