Ri Sol-ju, wife of Kim Jong-un, ends mysterious absence; in public after 9 months

In 2015 Ri Sol-ju was not seen for five months at a stretch.

Ri Sol-ju
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) and wife Ri Sol Ju (L) enjoy a joint performance given by the State Merited Chorus and the Moranbong Band celebrating the 70th founding anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on October 19, 2015. Reuters

Both supporters and critics of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were left baffled after he arrived with his wife Ri Sol-ju during an air combat training competition conducted by the Korean People's Air Force and Defense (KPAF). Ri Sol-ju was seen for the first time in the last nine months.

The absence of the first lady prompted people to speculatedthat either she was pregnant or was going through a rough patch in her marriage. However, there is no confirmation if any one of the guesses is true. The Daily Star also reported that some people thought Ri has been removed from Kim's inner circle or had differences of Kim's younger sibling Kim Yo-jong.

However, this is not the first time that Ri Sol-ju, who is believed to be around 27, has vanished from the public eye. In 2015 she was not seen for five months at a stretch. This year Ri made three public appearances, the last one being on 28 March when she attended the inauguration of a shopping complex in Pyongyang, before she fell off the radar.

After Kim Jong-un assumed power in 2011, Ri appeared in public for the first time with the North Korean leader in 2012 – the same year they are believed to have got married. In 2013, it was reported that Ri gave birth to a baby girl.

The totalitarian North Korean regime has always been tight-lipped about the personal lives of its leaders and this is the reason that a little is known about both Kim Jong-un and Ri Sol-ju. Even a little is known for certain about Kim Jong-un as most of the government's functioning is shrouded in secrecy.