North Korea's Kim gives pair of dogs to Putin

  • World
  • Thursday, 20 Jun 2024

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un ride an Aurus car in Pyongyang, North Korea in this image released by the Korean Central News Agency June 20, 2024. KCNA via REUTERS

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a pair of Pungsan dogs, a local breed, state media KCNA reported on Thursday.

Kim and Putin were seen looking at the dogs, who were tied to a rose-covered fence, during a segment aired on the state-controlled Korean Central Television on Thursday.

The two bonded over animals as Kim fed carrots to a horse while Putin patted it on its head. They also took turns driving each other around in a Russian-built Aurus limousine on Wednesday.

Kim, a horseman, was famously pictured riding a white stallion in Mount Paektu during snowfall in photos released by state media in 2019, flooding the internet with memes.

He was seen riding a white horse again in a propaganda video in 2022.

The horses Kim rode are symbolic for North Korea, which named its economic effort to recover from the 1950-53 Korean War after the mythical winged horse Chollima. The country's latest rocket booster is also named Chollima-1.

Putin, who prizes his sporty image, has also been pictured shirtless several times in photos released by Russian state media, including one set in which he rode a brown horse while wearing wrap-around sunglasses, a gold chain and army trousers.

Pungsans are a breed of hunting dogs native to a region in northern North Korea.

Former South Korean president Moon Jae-in also received a pair of white Pungsans - named "Gomi" and "Songgang" - from Kim in 2018 during a breakthrough in inter-Korean relations.

In 2022, a freight train carrying 30 grey thoroughbred horses heading to North Korea departed Russia's far east through the Khasan-Tumangan crossing, according to Russia's veterinary service, in what appeared to be the first reported train shipment between the two countries post-pandemic.

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim and Hyun Young Yi. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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