Putin Presents Kim Jong Un with Russian Car, Signifying Special Relationship: North Korea

Putin gave Kim Jong Un a Russian-made car in a show of their special ties: North Korea

North Korean state media reported on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had presented North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with a Russian-manufactured car for his personal use, underscoring the close bond between the two leaders.

Although the specific details regarding the type of vehicle and its mode of delivery were not disclosed, observers noted that such a gesture might run afoul of a UN resolution prohibiting the provision of luxury items to North Korea, part of efforts to compel the country to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, and another North Korean official accepted the gift on Sunday and conveyed Kim’s gratitude to Putin, according to the Korean Central News Agency. Kim Yo Jong remarked that the gift symbolized the special rapport shared between the two leaders.

The relationship between North Korea and Russia has deepened considerably since Kim’s visit to Russia in September the previous year, where he held talks with Putin. During this visit, Putin showcased his personal Anrus Senat limousine to Kim at Russia’s primary spaceport, with Kim even taking a seat in the vehicle’s backseat.

Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin
Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin (Credits: UPI)

Aurus, as reported by Russia’s state-run Tass news agency, represents the inaugural Russian luxury car brand and has been a fixture in the motorcades of top officials, including Putin, since its debut during his inauguration ceremony in 2018.

Despite the diplomatic gesture from Putin, experts noted that such an exchange might violate UN resolutions prohibiting the provision of luxury goods to North Korea. Kim Jong Un is known to possess numerous foreign luxury cars, likely smuggled into the country in defiance of these resolutions.

During his previous visit to Russia, Kim utilized a Maybach limousine for transportation between meeting locations, which he had brought along on one of his special train carriages.

Furthermore, during a prior trip to Russia in 2019, Kim had two limousines awaiting him at Vladivostok station, including a Mercedes Maybach S600 Pullman Guard and a Mercedes Maybach S62. The S600 Pullman Guard was also reportedly utilized during his summits with then-President Donald Trump in Singapore and Vietnam.

The possession of such high-end foreign vehicles Kim highlights the challenges posed by international sanctions on North Korea.

Russia, despite being a permanent Security Council member, supported the ban on luxury goods to North Korea, although it had the option to veto the resolution. The deepening ties between North Korea and Russia occur amidst separate tensions each country faces with the United States and its allies, including North Korea’s nuclear program and Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

Accusations have also been made by the US, South Korea, and their allies regarding North Korea’s alleged provision of conventional arms to Russia in exchange for advanced Russian weapons technology and other forms of support for its conflict in Ukraine.

Following a visit by its foreign minister to Russia in January, North Korean state media reported Putin’s expressed interest in visiting North Korea in the near future.

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