15:19 EST 10 July 2012
The mystery woman pictured accompanying North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to a string of official engagements is a previously married pop star, who his father banned him from seeing 10 years ago, it has been revealed.
Attractive Hyon Song-wol, who used to front the Bochonbo Electronic Music Band, enjoyed chart success with hits including Excellent Horse-Like Lady, Footsteps of Soldiers, I Love Pyongyang, She is a Discharged Soldier and We are Troops of the Party.
According to South Korean intelligence the pair became romantically involved a decade ago after Kim Jong-un returned from an elite private school in the Swiss city of Berne.
But his father Kim Jong-il, who died in December last year, reportedly ordered him to end the relationship.
A South Korean intelligence official told the JoonAng Daily newspaper in Seoul: ‘The two have known each other since they were in their teens and rumours about the two having an affair have been circulating among Pyongyang’s top elite.’
The singer, whose popularity peaked around 2005, is believed to have been married to an officer in the North Korean Army with whom she had a baby.
There have been no recent reports on the current whereabouts of Ms Hyon’s husband or baby – or whether the couple are still married.
Ms Hyon was seen earlier this year performing at an event to mark International Women’s Day in Pyongyang which the dictator is said to have attended.
The pair were seen together on state television on Sunday paying tribute to Kim Jong-un’s late grandfather Kim Il-Sung on the anniversary of his death in 1994.
North Korean officials have not confirmed her identity.
North Koreans wail theatrically after orders from military chiefs to break down in tears as they stand along the roadside during the state funeral procession of late North Korean leader last December
South Korea media reports had previously suggested she was Kim’s younger sister Yo-Jong, who is believed to have studied in Switzerland along with him in the 1990s. Others suggested she may be Kim’s wife or lover.
Seoul’s intelligence agency and unification ministry, in charge of cross-border affairs, declined to comment.
Jong-Un took power after the death of his father Kim Jong-Il last December but the outside world does not even know his exact age.
An unidentified woman pictured standing behind Jong-Un during mourning for his late father last December was identified by some sources as the new leader’s younger sister.
But Yang Moo-Jin of Seoul’s University of North Korean Studies said there was ‘little chance’ the mystery woman was Kim’s partner, given that the country’s past first ladies have rarely made public appearances with leaders.
‘She could be Yo-Jong or perhaps a daughter of one of the mistresses of the late Kim Jong-Il… so that Jong-Un can publicly showcase the solidarity in the ruling family,’ Yang said.
Kim Jong-Un’s late father, Kim Jong-Il, was married to Kim Young-sook but they rarely made public appearances together and the couple were estranged for some years before his death. He is said to have had a number of mistress.
Jong-Il died in December last year. Thousands of mourners paid tribute to the ‘Dear Leader’ with many crying on cue after orders from military chiefs.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
8765 1657 563 59
her path of destiny = 59 = Salvaging what remains. Chain reaction. Overcoming self-interest.
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