Next dyanastic succession? ... Kim Jong-Un with his wife Ri Sol-Ju, pictured last July, who is suspected to have recently given birth. Photo: AP

SEOUL: North Korea's next dynastic succession may have been secured. TV images of the leader Kim Jong-un's wife suggest she recently gave birth.

When state TV showed Ri Sol-ju attending a memorial service for her husband's late father, Kim Jong-il, in mid-December, she appeared heavily pregnant, with her loose-fit traditional dress barely hiding a swollen belly.

But images of her attending an official new year's party showed her wearing a well-fitted two-piece skirt suit with no physical sign of pregnancy.

This screen grab taken from North Korean TV on January 3, 2013 shows North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-Un (centre R) and his wife Ri Sol-Ju (centre L) attending a New Year celebration event held in Pyongyang

No physical sign of pregnancy ... a screen grab taken of Kim Jong-Un and Ri Sol-Ju at a New Year's event held in Pyongyang. Photo: AFP

Speculation was fuelled by the official performance, which included an all-woman band singing a version of the Christmas song When a Child Is Born, made popular by Johnny Mathis.

South Korean television and newspapers ran before-and-after photos with speculative captions on Thursday. ''The bulging stomach has gone down … has Ri Sol-ju given birth?'' asked the Dong-A Ilbo.

''Ri Sol-ju with her tummy reduced in 11 days. Has she come out right after childbirth?'' ran the caption in the Chosun Ilbo.

A South Korean government official, quoted by the news agency Yonhap, said Ms Ri ''appeared to have already given birth, based on analysis of the TV images''.

The fact that Kim Jong-un even had a wife was only revealed in July last year, when pictures emerged of a stylishly dressed young woman accompanying the new young leader at official events.

Pyongyang's state media confirmed her identity later in the same month.

Agence France-Presse