Putin gifts Kim Russian-made car, says official media

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has gifted Kim Jong-un a Russian-made car, Pyongyang’s state media said.The gift would violate successive rounds of United Nations sanctions on the North over Kim’s nuclear and other weapons programmes that ban the import of any vehicles or luxury goods into the country.

The Korean Central News Agency also reported yesterday that Kim’s sister, Yo-jong, had said the “gift serves as a clear demonstration of the special personal relations between the top leaders of the two countries”.The report did not specify the vehicle’s model.

Since Kim visited Putin last year, Pyongyang has been drawing ever closer to Moscow, with a group of Russian tourists arriving earlier this month for a four-day trip, the first known foreign tour group since pre-pandemic-linked border closures in 2020.

After September’s Kim-Putin summit in Russia’s Far East, the United States and South Korea repeatedly claimed the North had shipped weapons to Moscow for use in its war with Ukraine, in exchange for Russian help with Kim’s satellite programmes.The Russian leader is now set to pay a return visit to Pyongyang, both sides have indicated.

Kim is renowned for his affinity for lavish automobiles. He has been spotted using luxury cars, including Mercedes-Benz S-Class models.“We condemn North Korea for its brazen attitude of publicly disclosing violations of the UN sanctions,” a South Korean Unification Ministry official told reporters, speaking on anonymity.

“Russia should also be aware of its responsibility as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and stop (such) an act that undermines international norms,” the official added. — AFP

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