07/26/2012, 00.00
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Forget Kate and William: the wedding of the century was in Pyongyang

by Joseph Yun Li-sun
The North Korean regime confirms: the young dictator Kim Jong-un is married. The wife - presented by his uncle Jang Song-taek - straight out of billboard propaganda: beautiful and intelligent, she is the daughter of a professor of nuclear physics and a gynecologist. The marriage was celebrated before the death of "dear leader", and the publicity that surrounds it is a sign of the changing style of the system, more and more oriented to pop culture.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - After a week of increasingly insistent rumors, the government of North Korea confirmed yesterday that the young dictator Kim Jong-un has married his 'girlfriend Sol Ri-ju. " The news has been inserted, almost in passing in a long report carried by state television on the the Stalinist leader's inauguration of first amusement park in Pyongyang and the whole country. The report did not say how long they are married, but several sources - including AsiaNews that - had already spoken of a year of marriage.

What is certain is that "companion Ri" accompanied her husband since the death of his father Kim Jong-il, last December. In images from the "dear leader's"  funeral the third son and heir is seen always dressed in black, with a young woman behind him. Together the two have opened a nursery school, went to a concert and sat next to each other at the spin-off Disney show that angered the U.S. multi-national for non-payment of royalties.

During his visit to the " Pleasure Park of the people of Rungna," says a source, "the two were all smiles and caught being very tender towards each other. As for its being a combined marriage, it seems to be a marriage of love. " The reference is to the custom that is still very popular in North Korea, of arranged marriages through a matchmaker who is careful to match young people of the same extraction.

In this case the matchmaker was the dictator's powerful uncle Jang Song-taek, a friend of the companion Ri's parents' ". The source tells AsiaNews that the young woman "is about 2 years younger than Jong-un, who is believed to be 30.  She comes from Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province, and graduated from Kim Il-sung University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in the same university. "

The young man is perfect extraction: "She is the daughter of a professor of physics [North Korea relies entirely on developing its nuclear program ed] and a gynecologist. It seems to good to be true: her parents represent the nation's development and care for women, two flagships of the propaganda. " The courtship began two years ago: "Everybody saw the black Mercedes that brought gifts to the house of Ri during the holidays."

The source concludes: "Beyond these details, it is interesting to note Jong-un's break from the stiff  regime created by his father and grandfather. Unlike them, his life is in the public square, he even appears on a fairground ride. He applauds Mickey Mouse and launches fast-food restaurants. Pop culture is on the up in Pyongyang. "


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