North Korea's Kim Jong Un Receives Car From Russia's Vladimir Putin in Another Sign of Warming Ties Between the 2 Countries

By Jace Dela Cruz

Feb 20, 2024 02:40 AM EST

North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, has received a car from Russia's President Vladimir Putin as a personal gift, official KCNA news agency reported on Tuesday. 

(Photo : VLADIMIR SMIRNOV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - This pool image distributed by Sputnik agency shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) shaking hands during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur region on September 13, 2023, ahead of planned talks that could lead to a weapons deal with Russian President.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin Gives North Korea's Leader Kim Jong Un a Russian-Made Car

Moscow and Pyongyang have forged closer ties since the two leaders met in September and vowed to increase exchanges in all areas as their global isolation deepened over Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the nuclear weapons development of North Korea.

According to KCNA, the car, manufactured in Russia, was delivered to Kim's top aides by the Russian delegation on February 18. Kim's sister conveyed Kim's gratitude to Putin, saying that "the gift serves as a clear demonstration of the special personal relations" between the two leaders, KCNA reported.

The North Korean leader is reportedly an avid car enthusiast and has a huge collection of luxury foreign vehicles, which, according to Reuters, are possibly smuggled in.

During his visit to Russia's space launch facility last September, Kim examined Putin's presidential Aurus Senat limousine and even had the opportunity to sit in the back seat at Putin's invitation.

Kim drove to the space station in his personal Maybach limousine that was brought onboard the special train he traveled in from Pyongyang with a large entourage.

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Vladimir Putin's Car Gift to Kim Jong Un a Potential UN Violation?

According to Reuters, Vladimir Putin's gift for Kim Jong Un's "personal use" could be a violation of the United Nations (UN) ban that Russia had agreed to adopt against North Korea.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Russia's RIA state news agency that Kim received an Aurus car, which is reportedly Russia's first full-size luxury sedan and also Putin's presidential vehicle.

South Korea's foreign ministry, which is closely monitoring the ties between Russia and North Korea, urged both countries to comply with UN Security Council resolutions.

Citing ministry spokesperson Lim Soo-suk, Reuters reported that "Security Council sanctions on North Korea prohibit directly or indirectly supplying, selling or moving all transportation vehicles internationally categorized as HS Code 86 through to 89 regardless of their origin to North Korea, including luxury cars."

The Maybach and others Kim had been seen driving, including some Mercedes limousines, a Rolls-Royce Phantom, and a Lexus sports utility vehicle, reportedly fall under luxury goods that UN Security Council resolutions ban from export to North Korea.

READ MORE: North Korea Junks All Economic Cooperation Deals With South Korea as Kim Jong Un Claims Legal Right to Destroy South

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