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May 28, 2017

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Wife of late North Korean leader visited Beijing for treatment: report

SEOUL -- North Korea's de facto first lady in the final years of Kim Jong Il's reign has made several recent visits to China apparently for medical treatment, a report said Sunday.

Kim Ok, believed to have been the late Jong Il's fourth wife, has been seen at Beijing International Airport on several occasions, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said, citing an anonymous source in the Chinese capital.

The source said she had various ailments, but did not give further details.

A former secretary to Jong Il, Kim Ok, in her early 50s, became de facto first lady after the leader's wife Ko Yong Hui died of breast cancer.

Ko is the mother of the North's new leader Kim Jong Un, who took power after Jong Il's death last year.

Kim Ok accompanied Jong Il on his visits to China and Russia.

She was recently seen attending official functions in Pyongyang despite her apparent illnesses and rumors she had been sidelined, Yonhap said.

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