The influential aunt of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made her first public appearance in six years after her husband was executed in a purge.
Kim Kyong Hui is the sister of former North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, and took a leading role during the first years of current leader Kim Jong Un's rule.
She had largely disappeared from public view since 2013, after Kim Jong Un ordered the execution of her husband, Jang Song Thaek, seen as the second most powerful man in the North at the time.
On Sunday, state media showed Kim Kyong Hui sitting near Kim Jong Un at a performance celebrating the Lunar New Year in Pyongyang.
"Many North Korea watchers had assumed that Kim Kyong Hui had gone into exile or even killed in the wake of her husband's death, so to see her pop up by the leader's side some six years later is certainly a surprise," said Oliver Hotham, managing editor of NK News, a Seoul-based organisation that monitors North Korea.
Kim Kyong Hui and her husband were once a power couple that formed a kind of regency in the political world of the North behind its young and mercurial leader, who succeeded his father in December 2011.
Kim Kyong Hui's reappearance in a position of prominence suggests she has retained, or at least regained an influential position behind the scenes, Hotham said, noting that state media listed her after North Korea's nominal No. 2, Choe Ryong Hae.
Australian Associated Press