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Kim Jong Un gives a luxury home to the most famous presenter in North Korea

Hyung-jin Kim, Associated Press Published Thursday, April 14, 2022, 6:00 AM EDT Last Updated on Thursday, April 14, 2022 6:00 AM EDT

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – State media leader Ri Chun Hee is one of North Korea’s most famous voices after announcing major events in the country in recent decades – including nuclear and missile tests and the death of a leader – in a bang. , a booming voice full of emotion.

The presenter, dubbed the “Pink Lady” overseas for her bright traditional attire, was the subject of North Korean official media on Thursday after leader Kim Jong Un gave Ri a luxurious residence and asked her to continue vigorously serving as the voice of his government. party.

Experts say Kim is trying to boost support from elite North Koreas as the country copes with the difficulties of the pandemic and diplomatic stalemate.

“(Kim) said the party’s sincerity is that there is nothing to save for the treasures of a country like her, which has worked as the party’s revolutionary spokeswoman for more than 50 years for her girlfriend,” the official Korean Central told the news agency. . Kim expressed “the expectation that he will continue to work vigorously in good health, as befits a party spokesman.”

Kim met with Ri in a newly built terraced residential neighborhood by the river, which opened in Pyongyang on Wednesday. KCNA said the houses in the area were presented to Ri and other people who provided excellent services to the state.

Friday is the 110th birthday of Kim’s late grandfather and founder of the state, Kim Il Sung. This is the most important state anniversary in North Korea, consistently ruled by three generations of the Kim family since its founding in 1948. The new residential area is the site of Kim Il Sung’s official residence until the 1970s. century.

“By giving homes to those who have been loyal to him, Kim Jong Un would like to further strengthen their royalty and inner unity,” said Moon Seong Muk, an analyst at the Seoul-based Korean National Strategy Research Institute. “Ri Chun Hee is a shining example of such people, as she strongly promotes his nuclear and missile tests and serves him as something of a miner.

KCNA said Kim inspected Ree’s house with her on Wednesday and took an unspecified step to protect her from inconvenience “as she goes up and down the stairs.”

Ree, who is about 79 years old, said she felt her new house was like a hotel and that all members of her family “stayed up all night in tears of deep gratitude for the party’s favor,” according to KCNA.

Ree joined state television in the early 1970s, when the country was still ruled by Kim Il Sung, and she gradually became the face of the country’s propaganda newscasts.

Her close ties to Kim were shown during a military parade last year as she watched the march of troops from the raised porch right next to Kim, put her hand on his shoulder and whispered to him at one point. In another event, she was the first person to shake hands with Kim before taking his hand and posing for a group photo.

Moon, an analyst, said Ree was receiving treatment at the cabinet level at home, looked healthy and was expected to continue processing key television messages for at least the next few years.

Ree’s passionate, influential style sometimes provokes laughter in other countries. In 2011, Taiwanese television apologized after one of its news readers mimicked Ri’s tone used when she announced the death of Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il.

Ever since he inherited power after his father’s death, Kim Jong Un, 38, has ruled North Korea with absolute power. But he faces one of the most difficult moments of his rule after the coronavirus pandemic shocked an economy already in dire straits of mismanagement and US-led sanctions. Analysts say the latest missile tests were aimed at improving his weapons and pushing the United States and rivals for diplomatic concessions.