Small gifts between friends: Vladimir Putin gave Kim Jong-un a luxury car

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un have a knack for unusual gifts. Already last September, the North Korean dictator left his visit to Russia with his hands full of surprising gifts: a bulletproof vest, a set of clothes not detectable by thermal cameras and six drones – five attack and one of recognition. This week, Vladimir Putin gave him a new toy: a luxury car made in Russia. The announcement was made by the state news agency KCNA, confirmed by the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, which revealed the brand of the car: an Aurus, a luxury Russian automobile manufacturer founded in 2018. It is also the brand of the presidential car. During his visit in September, Kim Jong-un was invited to sit in the back seat of his Russian counterpart's Aurus Senat limousine.

Kim Yo Jong, sister of Kim Jong-un and fervent defender of her brother's policies and propaganda, thanked Vladimir Putin for this attention which “constitutes a clear demonstration of the privileged personal relations maintained by the highest leaders of (North Korea and Russia). » However, with this gift, Vladimir Putin could have crossed the line. This car constitutes a violation of Western sanctions established by the UN against Pyongyang in 2017, the text of which was ratified by Moscow. The objective? Ban the import of luxury items to put pressure on North Korea and push its authorities to abandon its nuclear weapons. “Security Council sanctions against North Korea prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or movement of all transport vehicles classified in HS codes 86 to 89, regardless of their origin, to North Korea , including luxury cars,” commented the South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Lim Soo-sukduring a press conference.

Passion, beautiful cars and little phrases

Kim Jong-un embraces his passion for beautiful cars. He was seen riding in an armored Mercedes-Maybach Pullman Guard limousine, a black Rolls-Royce, or admiring Donald Trump's Cadillac during a meeting in Singapore in 2018. According to a Center study for Advanced Defense Studies cited by CNN, Pyongyang would have imported “more than 800 luxury vehicles between 2015 and 2017 alone, the majority coming from Russian companies”. This last, very personal gift helps to further warm up relations between the two countries. The diplomatic meeting in September confirmed North Korea's keen interest in Russian military technologies. Kim Jong-un could seek support from his Russian counterpart to carry out his nuclear ambitions, in particular by using the Kremlin's ballistic technologies. Vladimir Putin could need North Korean stocks to continue the war he is waging against Ukraine. According to CNN, Russia “has repeatedly fired short-range ballistic missiles supplied by North Korea at Ukrainian targets in recent weeks.”

Things are accelerating at the start of the year: the North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs, Choe Son Hui, announced that Pyongyang was “ready to receive the Korean people’s closest friend with the greatest sincerity”, the Russian president. In early February, the first tourists to enter North Korean territory since the borders were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic were seen. Their nationality? Russian.

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