The powerful younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended a public event in Pyongyang for the first time in more than 50 days, casting further doubt on media speculation that he had ordered her to lay low over the failed nuclear summit with Washington.
North Korea’s state media on Tuesday showed Kim Yo Jong clapping aside her brother, his wife and other top officials at the 150,000-seat May Day Stadium, where thousands of gymnasts, dancers and flip-card-wielding spectators worked in precise unison to perform “The Land of the People.”
The official Korean Central News Agency said the performers on Monday showed “beautiful and graceful rhythmic movements, high-spirited gymnastics, interesting national emotion and rich artistic depiction,” but also that Kim Jong Un was quite unhappy about their display.
He seriously criticized the creators for their “wrong spirit of creation and irresponsible work attitude” and set forth “important tasks” to correctly implement the country’s revolutionary policy on literature and art, KCNA said.
State media often reports on Kim scolding factory officials, educators and others perceived as not performing to his standards.
The mass games events were once routine in North Korea but were on hiatus for several years during the mourning for Kim’s father and only returned last year.
Kim Yo Jong is a senior official of North Korea’s ruling party and is believed to be her brother’s closest confidant. She had accompanied him to his summits with President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in and had joined other dignitaries in the stands at last year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea.
But speculation about her status grew after she was left out from her brother’s trip to Vladivostok, Russia, in April for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. North Korean media had last shown her at a meeting of the North’s rubber-stamp parliament on April 12.