N Korean leader receives a luxurious car gift from Putin: state media

Since last year’s North Korea-Russia summit, bilateral exchanges across sectors have intensified.
By Taejun Kang for RFA
2024.02.20
Taipei, Taiwan
N Korean leader receives a luxurious car gift from Putin: state media North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves from a car as he meets with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, in Russia, Sept. 13, 2023 in this image released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency.
(KCNA via Reuters)

UPDATED on Feb. 20, 2024 at 10:18 a.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin has presented North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with a Russian-made passenger car, according to the North Korean media, the latest sign of the enhanced ties between the two nations. 

The gift was handed over to Workers’ Party Secretary Park Chung Chol and the leader’s powerful sister Kim Yo Jong on Jan. 18, the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Tuesday. 

The KCNA cited Kim Yo Jong as saying it was “a most excellent gift and a clear demonstration of the close friendship between the two leaders of the DPRK and Russia.”

DPRK, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is North Korea’s official name. 

“Kim Yo Jong respectfully conveyed to the Russian side the greetings of gratitude from Comrade Kim Jong Un to Comrade President Putin,” the news agency added.

Putin introduced Kim Jong Un to a Russian-made luxury passenger car, the Aurus, during Kim's visit to Russia last year. It has been described as the “Russian equivalent of Rolls-Royce." Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed to Russian outlet RIA Novosti Tuesday that the car presented to Kim was an Aurus Senat.

According to the U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea, the direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of transport to the North is also prohibited under Security Council Resolution 2397, adopted in Dec. 2017.

Separately, the KCNA reported on the same day that delegations led by senior North Korean government officials in charge of technology, fisheries and sports affairs have left for Russia, another indication of  the expanded bilateral cooperation between the two. 

The North’s Information and Trade Minister Ju Yong Il and other delegates left Pyongyang on Monday to attend a global IT forum in Moscow, the report said.

According to a schedule posted on the forum’s website, the 20-21 event will be attended by Russian government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, as well as officials from Iran, Armenia, Afghanistan, the Philippines and Thailand.

Another delegation led by Vice Fisheries Minister Son Song Kuk departed for Russia the previous day to discuss ways to promote bilateral cooperation in the fisheries sector. In addition, Vice Sports Minister O Kwang Hyok headed to Russia to attend a ceremony to sign a 2024 sports exchange protocol between the two countries. 

Since the North Korea-Russia summit in September last year, the two countries have stepped up the pace of bilateral exchanges on various sectors, including military, political, economic and cultural fronts.

Pyongyang is believed to have supplied artillery and munitions to Russia for its conflict in Ukraine, potentially in return for Russia transferring weapons technology.

Edited by Elaine Chan.

Update confirms the gifted car's make and model.

Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated that Putin showed Kim the Aurus during a meeting in Pyongyang last year. Their meeting was in Russia.

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Bill Stickers
Feb 20, 2024 02:27 AM

Probably bugged and more