The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reappeared in public after a nine-month-long absence. The reasons for her disappearance are still not known, but speculation has been rife.

Ri Sol-ju emerged in public along with Kim during an air combat training competition conducted by the Korean People's Air Force and Defense (KPAF).

Pyongyang's state-run mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported the event without many details about the presence of Ri. The exact date of the occasion is also unclear.

This is said to be the first time in nearly nine months Ri was mentioned by the North Korean state media as her last appearance was on 28 March.

Rumours have been doing the rounds that she might have been removed from Kim's inner circle.

During the event jointly attended by Ri and Kim, the North Korean leader provided "field guidance" to the country's air force personnel asking them maintain high vigilance. The

The KCNA dispatch said Kim "stressed that once an order of final attack is issued, they should promptly take off and mercilessly blow up the strongholds of aggression and pave a broad avenue to the units of the People's Army advancing southward".

The Korean peninsula has become highly unstable in recent months after the North's nuclear and missile tests. Despite global condemnation, Pyongyang has refused to scale down any of its programmes. The regime has also reacted strongly to the recent economic sanctions announced by the UN Security Council.

The regime has also reacted strongly to the recent economic sanctions announced by the UN Security Council.