A veteran North Korean news anchor on television screens for more than half a century has been given a luxury apartment by leader Kim Jong Un, state media reported Thursday.
Ri Chun Hi has delivered news of some of North Korea’s most momentous events over her 50-year career, from the death of founding father Kim Il Sung in 1994 to its first nuclear weapons test in 2006.
State media images showed Ri, who is in her late 70s, with Kim Jong Un at a riverside apartment complex in the capital Pyongyang.
According to a report by mouthpiece KCNA, she told Kim her new home was “just like a hotel” and her family had “stayed up all night in tears of deep gratitude”.
Kim told her she was one of the “treasures” of the nation after working as a presenter “since her girlhood”.
North Korea announced the completion of the apartment complex ahead of the 110th anniversary Friday of the birth of founding leader Kim Il Sung — Kim Jong Un’s grandfather.
The younger Kim “initiated” the project to gift the homes to those “who have contributed to the prosperity and development of the country”, the KCNA report said.
US and South Korean officials have warned that North Korea may be preparing for another nuclear test around the anniversary Friday.
Typically Pyongyang likes to mark key anniversaries with military parades, major weapons tests or satellite launches.
It has conducted a string of missile tests this year that culminated last month with the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which could potentially deliver a nuclear warhead to the eastern United States.