Ri Chun-hi joined state TV in the early 1970s, when the country was still governed by Kim Il Sung, and she has gradually become the face of the country’s news broadcasts.
State media anchor Ri Chun-hi dubbed abroad as the “pink lady” for her bright, traditional attire has been the topic of official North Korean media herself after leader Kim Jong-un gave Ri a luxurious residence.
Ri is one of North Korea’s most famous voices after announcing the country's major events of past decades — among them nuclear and missile tests and the death of a leader — in a resounding, booming voice filled with emotion.
Kim asked her to continue to vigorously serve as the voice of his governing Workers' Party.
“(Kim) said it is 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 said.
Kim expressed “expectation that she would as ever vigorously continue her work in good health as befitting a spokeswoman for the party.”
Kim met Ri at a newly built riverside terraced residential district that was inaugurated on Wednesday in Pyongyang.
KCNA said houses in the district were presented to Ri and other people who have given distinguished service to the state.
'Royalty and internal unity'
Experts say Kim is trying to boost his support from elite North Koreas while the country deals with pandemic hardships and a diplomacy stalemate.
“By giving houses to those who have been faithful to him, Kim Jong-un would want to further bolster their royalty and internal unity,” said Moon Seong-mook, an analyst with the Seoul-based Korea Research Institute for National Strategy.
“Ri Chun-hi is a clear example of such people as she’s strongly propagated his nuclear and missile tests and served as a sort of bugler for him.”
Ri, who is about 79, 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.
Ri joined state TV in the early 1970s, when the country was still governed by Kim Il Sung, Kim’s late grandfather, and she has gradually become the face of the country’s propaganda-driven news broadcasts.
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