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Putin presents a new luxury car to Kim Jong-un

By Mathilda Bartholomew | February 20, 2024

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The gift is viewed as an indication of strong connections between secluded leaders and may potentially breach UN sanctions prohibiting the export of luxury goods to North Korea.

Putin presents a new luxury car to Kim Jong-un

Russian President Vladimir Putin has presented his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong-un, with a Russian-manufactured limousine, marking a further indication of strengthening ties between the two nations, both facing increasing isolation on the global stage.

North Korean state media reported that a Russian delegation personally delivered the car over the weekend. On Tuesday, the Kremlin confirmed that President Putin had sent a full-sized luxury sedan limousine by Aurus, Russia's premier luxury car brand.

The gift, however, may run afoul of Moscow-backed United Nations Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang, which prohibit the supply of luxury goods, including all "transportation vehicles," to North Korea. The car was received on February 18 by Kim Jong-un's sister and close aide, Kim Yo-jong, as well as other senior North Korean officials, according to KCNA.

Kim Yo-jong conveyed Kim Jong-un's gratitude to President Putin, stating that the gift exemplifies the special personal relations between the leaders of North Korea and Russia. Kim Jong-un, known for his enthusiasm for automobiles and possessing a significant collection of luxury foreign cars, was previously seen inspecting Putin's presidential Aurus Senat limousine during a rare trip to Russia last year.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov explained that the decision to present the car was influenced by Kim Jong-un's admiration for Putin's Aurus Senat Limousine, custom-made for the Russian president. Peskov emphasised the intention to continue developing relations with North Korea, emphasising the close geographical proximity between the two nations.

The closer ties between North Korea and Russia have been partly attributed to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has led to both countries facing Western sanctions and being locked in separate confrontations with the United States and its allies. Reports suggest potential military collaboration between Pyongyang and Moscow, with North Korea supplying artillery, rockets, and ballistic missiles to Russia for the conflict in Ukraine.

Since Kim Jong-un's visit to Russia in September, exchanges of delegations between the two nations have become more frequent, involving various sectors such as information technology, fisheries, and sports. Kim Jong-un has expressed strong support for Russia's war in Ukraine and called for unity against Western powers.

Despite international sanctions prohibiting the supply of luxury goods to North Korea, Kim Jong-un has maintained a fleet of high-end cars, believed to have been smuggled into the country over the years. The latest gift from Putin adds another chapter to the evolving diplomatic relationship between the two nations.

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