First lady Kim makes 1st official appearance in public after keeping low profile

SEOUL-- First lady Kim Keon-hee made her first official appearance in public on Tuesday after keeping a low profile for months as she accompanied President Yoon Suk-yeol on a visit to the Seoul National Cemetery and then to his inauguration ceremony.

Kim first paid tribute to fallen patriots at the cemetery together with Yoon before moving to the National Assembly Plaza for the inauguration ceremony, where some 41,000 people gathered to witness the start of the new government.

It was the first time the couple has made a public appearance together since Yoon's election in March.

After arriving at the National Assembly, Kim, dressed in white, walked behind Yoon, greeting well-wishers lining the path to the podium with fist bumps.

Kim had stayed out of public view after issuing a public apology in December over alleged misconduct, including allegations she lied on her resume when applying for jobs.

But she started to come out of seclusion from last month for private meetings and events.

While opening her personal Instagram account to the public, she visited Buddhist temples in Danyang, North Chungcheong Province, and Seoul to have a meeting with leading Buddhist monks.

She also attended an adoption event for abandoned dogs last month.

Observers said Kim is likely to assist Yoon in a quiet manner rather than making active public appearances as the wife of the country's leader.

With regard to her art event-planning company, Covana Contents, Kim is reportedly considering halting its operation or closing the business, an official close to Yoon said.

The official also denied the possibility of Kim switching her firm to a non-profit corporation focusing on public services, citing its legal difficulty.

Kim earlier said she will help her husband fulfill his calling while seeking to reach the underprivileged.

In a poll released by Mediatomato last week, 66.4 percent of the people said Kim should focus on assisting Yoon in a quiet manner, while 24.2 percent said she should have an active role like other first wives.

Source: Yonhap News Agency