The Russian limousine was delivered to the top aides of the North Korean leader on February 18.
Putin had shown the black armored limousine to Kim on his visit to Russia in September 2023, and the North Korean leader seemed to like the luxury vehicle. Touted as the first Russian full-size luxury sedan, here is what the official website writes about the Aurus Senat limousine:
“Permit yourself the freedom to defy convention, go beyond the borders of everyday routine, and choose a car that is in a class of its own. The Senat Limousine is the official vehicle of the President of Russia, a car that represents the renaissance of Russia’s industrial, scientific, and technological potential.”
Speaking about Putin’s gift, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a statement, “When the head of the DPRK (North Korea) was at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, he looked at this car, Putin showed it to him personally, and like many people, Kim liked this car.”
“So this decision was made. North Korea is our neighbor, our close neighbor, and we intend, and will continue, to develop our relations with all neighbors, including North Korea,” Peskov added, according to Reuters.
The North Korean state media outlet KCNA reported that Kim Yo Jong conveyed the North Korean leader’s gratitude to Putin upon receiving the Russian armored limousine and that “the gift serves as a clear demonstration of the special personal relations between the top leaders,” according to Reuters.
“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,” Lim Soo-suk, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of South Korea, said during a press briefing, according to Reuters.
Kim Jong-un is an avid car enthusiast and reportedly has a huge collection of foreign luxury vehicles which, according to Reuters, are likely smuggled into the country amidst strict sanctions.
It is worth noting that several of the cars the North Korean leader has been seen riding, including the Maybach, several Mercedes Limousines, a Rolls-Royce Phantom, and a Lexus sports utility vehicle, are all cars that are banned from being exported to North Korea.
The increasingly deepening relations between North Korea and Russia, which is a member of the United Nations Security Council, have alarmed the Western bloc as the world braces itself for possible global repercussions of the tyrant alliance.
On one hand, the North’s rhetoric towards South Korea is growing increasingly hostile and aggressive, while on the other hand, Russia has been making significant progress in the Ukraine war, with alleged North Korean missiles having played a major role.
In a statement to the Washington, D.C. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies in January, White House Senior Director for Arms Control Pranay Vaddi said, “What we’re seeing between Russia and North Korea is an unprecedented level of cooperation in the military sphere. And I say unprecedented very deliberately – We have never seen this before.”
“I think the nature of North Korea as a threat in the region could drastically change over the coming decade as a result of this cooperation,” the NSC senior director added, according to a Reuters report from the time.
Vaddi further pointed out that while Kim Jong-un’s continued help to Russia, mainly in the form of ballistic missiles, is concerning, one must not forget about what North Korea, currently a nuclear-powered threat, might be receiving in return.
“How could that improve North Korea’s capabilities? And what does that mean for our own extended deterrence posture in the region with both Korea and Japan?” Vaddi said, adding that the United States is working with South Korea to ensure that the so-called “nuclear umbrella” will be capable of protecting U.S. allies when push comes to shove.
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Author: Samyarup Chowdhury
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