North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Was Kim Ok with KJI in Beijing?

A woman resembling Kim Ok is 1st L in the CCTV image on the left. On the right is a file photo of Ms. Kim. Photo: Hankook Ilbo

Korea Times using a report from its sister publication Hankook Ilbo reports on the rumored sightings of Kim Ok, a woman identified as KJI’s administrative assistant and possibly his 4th or 5th wife.  And here I thought we were supposed to be watching for Kim Jong Un.

Citing Chinese state television CCTV’s footage of Kim’s visit, the newspaper said North Korea’s de facto first lady Kim Ok also likely accompanied Kim during his China trip.

The woman, the Chinese media didn’t name, yet clearly made her visible by participating in a banquet on Wednesday night, hosted by Chinese President Hu Jintao, Kim’s later meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao, and was also present during Kim’s inspection of a high-tech research center in Beijing, it said.

Kim Ok, 46, has been a de facto “first lady” since 2004 when North Korean leader’s wife, then Koh Young-hee, died.

Kim Ok, originally trained as a musician in college, previously served as one of Kim Jong-il’s personal secretaries.

An intelligence expert told the newspaper: “There was no woman on the official list of the North Korean delegation.”

And it seemed the initial straws in the wind of KJI’s sojourn were kicked up by Kim Jong Un’s possible presence in the entourage.  Kim Ok’s appearances are nearly impossible to verify.  She was also rumored to have escorted KJI to China in 2006 and been formally introduced to Chinese leaders.

Kim Ok is one personality about whom much has been written (me included), but little is known.  Her last appearance was a 23 November report in JoonaAng which alleged she was married off to a Central Party cadre, and no longer employed in the Personal Secretariat.  You can read postings about Ms. Kim here and here.

Kim Ok


This article was written on 09 May 2010, and is filled under Kim Family, Kim Jong-il, KJI Personal Secretariat, Korean Workers' Party (KWP), National Defense Commission (NDC).

An affiliate of 38 North