Ri Chun Hi, North Korean TV anchor, gets luxurious residence

Ri Chun Hi, North Korean TV anchor, gets luxurious residence

Ri Chun Hi, North Korea's most famous state TV anchor, has become the subject of official North Korean media after Kim Jong Un gave her a luxurious residence.

The anchor, dubbed abroad as the pink lady for her bright, traditional attire, has announced major events for decades, including nuclear and missile tests and the death of a leader, with an instantly identifiable, passionate voice.

Kim gave her the luxury residence and asked her to continue to serve as the voice of his ruling Workers Party.

Experts say that Kim is giving elite North Koreans special treatment to boost their loyalty as he struggles with the Pandemic, a troubled economy and a stalemate in nuclear diplomacy with the United States.

Kim said that it was the sincerity of the party that there is nothing to spare for the treasures of the country like her who has worked as a revolutionary announcer for the party for more than 50 years since her girlhood, the official Korean Central News Agency KCNA said.

Kim expressed an expectation that she would continue her work in good health as a party spokeswoman for the party He met Ri, who is about 79, after inaugurating a newly built riverside terraced residential district in Pyongyang, the capital, KCNA said.

It said houses in the district were presented to Ri and other people who have given distinguished service to the state.

Friday is the 110th birthday of Kim's late grandfather and state founder Kim Il Sung.

It is the most important state anniversary in North Korea, which has been ruled by three generations of the Kim family since its foundation in 1948.

The new housing area is where Kim Il Sung's official residence was located until the 1970s.

Pyongyang is North Korea's showcase city, and its elite residents enjoy relatively affluent lives compared to people in remote rural areas where many still suffer from poverty and malnutrition.

A majority of North Koreans who have fled the country in the past two decades have come from its northern regions close to the border with China.

Moon Seong Mook, an analyst with the Seoul-based Korea Research Institute for National Strategy, said that Kim Jong Un would want to further bolster their royalty and internal unity by giving houses to those who have been faithful to him.

Ri Chun Hi is a good example of such people as she strongly propagated his nuclear and missile tests and served as a bugler for him. Kim toured Ri's house with her and held her hand as they descended the stairs.

Ri said she felt her new house was like a hotel and that all her family members stayed up all night in tears of deep gratitude for the party's benevolence, according to KCNA.

She later used her trademark over-the-top speaking technique to narrate a state TV video of Kim showing her the house.

Ri joined state television in the early 1970s when the country was still governed by Kim Il Sung, and she has become the face of the country's propaganda-driven news broadcasts.

Her close ties with Kim were shown during a military parade last year when she watched troops march from an elevated veranda right next to Kim, put her hand on his shoulder and whispered to him at one point.

She was the first person who exchanged a handshake with Kim before holding his arm and posing for a group photo.

Moon said that Ri receives cabinet member-level treatment at home, appears healthy and is expected to handle key televised announcements at least for the next few years.

Sometimes laughter has been generated by Ri's passionate, effusive style.