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North Korean leader Kim gets married, tours amusement park, state TV says

KCNA via Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife, who was named by the state broadcaster as Ri Sol Ju, visit the Rungna People's Pleasure Ground, in Pyongyang, in this undated picture released by the North's KCNA news agency on Wednesday.

North Korea's new young leader, Kim Jong Un, is married, state media said Wednesday, putting an end to weeks of speculation over the relationship with a woman seen at his side during a recent gala.

Kim toured an amusement park with his "wife, comrade Ri Sol Ju" on Tuesday, while a crowd cheered for the leader, an announcer said without giving any more details about Ri, including how long the couple had been married.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is apparently a married man now that state media announced the leader toured an amusement park with his "wife, comrade Ri Sol Ju." NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.



Seven months after inheriting the country from his father, Kim Jong Il, the twenty-something leader has been shown in the media several times with the young woman, including at a concert where Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters appeared and at tours of various North Korean sites.

While the woman had not been identified until now, media and analysts in the South were quick to guess that she was his wife.

Angus Walker, Beijing correspondent for NBC partner ITV News, quoted South Korean media as saying the woman was a top-scoring college graduate who had been handpicked by Kim's uncle to be the leader's spouse.

'Mystery woman' stirs talk of changing times in North Korea

Changing style
Kim Jong Un ascended to power in Pyongyang in December 2011. He is the third in his family to rule the country, which was led by his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, from its establishment in 1948 until his death in 1994. Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, subsequently ruled North Korea until his death in 2011. Kim Il Sung is still revered as North Korea's eternal president.

Kim's public appearances with the woman are a striking change from his father's style. Kim Jong Il's rule was known for its secrecy. State media did not mention his companions and his children, including Kim Jong Un, who was virtually unknown before his formal introduction to the world in late 2010.

N. Korea's Kim Jong Un issues rare public drubbing -- of a roller coaster

The new leader's style is considered more similar to his grandfather, who built homes, parks and schools and was often shown alongside his wife, Kim Jong Suk, and with children in his arms.

The speculation about Kim Jong Un's private life has coincided with high tension on the Korean Peninsula following a North Korean long-range rocket launch in April and repeated threats by Pyongyang to attack the South. 

Consolidating power
Last week, Kim Jong Un was named marshal of the army, the country's top military rank, in a move that added to his glittering array of titles and cements his power in the 1.2 million-strong military.

KCNA via Reuters

Kim and his new wife "comrade Ri Sol Ju" toured the park as a crowd cheered their leader, state television reported.

The new title completes Kim Jong Un's elevation following his father's death. He already heads the Workers' Party of Korea and is First Chairman of the National Defense Commission.

Source: Kim to reform North Korean economy after purge

Kim has steadily worked to impose his own stamp on the top leadership of North Korea, and earlier this month ousted Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho, the country's leading military figure, who was seen as close to Kim Jong Il.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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