HomeBreaking NewsRifle, fur hat, drones: North Korea's Kim returns with gifts from Russia

Rifle, fur hat, drones: North Korea’s Kim returns with gifts from Russia

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves as he boards his train at a train station in the town of Artyom on the outskirts of Vladivostok in the Primorsky region, Russia, on September 17, 2023. Government of Primorsky Krai of Russia/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo Acquire license rights

SEOUL, Sept 18 (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will return home on Monday, probably with gifts from his Russian hosts, including a rifle, a cosmonaut’s glove and military drones, which alone constitute a violation of UN sanctions.

Below are some of the items he will bring to the “friendship” museum, where gifts received by three generations of Northern leaders are kept.

GIFTS FROM RUSSIA

After his summit with Russian President Putin, Kim received a Russian-made rifle “of the highest quality,” according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Kim reciprocated with a rifle to Putin “made by North Korean craftsmen.”

Putin also presented a glove from a spacesuit used in space, Russian news agency TASS said.

Oleg Kozhemyako, governor of the Primorsky region, handed Kim a set of modern, lightweight bulletproof vests designed for assault operations that protect the chest, shoulders, throat and groin, Russian media said.

Kim was also delivered five one-way attack drones and a Geranium-25 reconnaissance drone, which is widely used in the war in Ukraine, TASS said.

That viola at least two members of the UN Security Council resolutions against the North – which Moscow voted to approve – imposed for its banned nuclear and missile activities.

Kim received a fur hat from Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Vladivostok, where he inspected Russian nuclear bombers, fighter jets equipped with hypersonic missiles and a warship.

There was a struggle to determine the correct size of the hat, the Russian news agency RIA reported. Russia’s ambassador to Pyongyang, Alexander Matsegora, suggested a size slightly smaller than his own “very large head,” which turned out to be about right.

“It is also important that it is a gift from the heart. And Comrade Kim Jong Un liked it,” Matsegora said.

Kim began his visit with a stop in the Russian border town of Khasan, where he was presented with a photograph of Yuri Gagarin, the cosmonaut who was the first human being to orbit the Earth.

‘COMPARABLE TO THE LOUVRE’

North Korea has gone to great lengths to display the gifts that Kim, as well as his father, Kim Jong-il, and his grandfather and state founder, Kim Il Sung, received from foreign dignitaries, dedicating a special museum to them.

Located in the foothills of Myohyangsan Mountain, 160 kilometers (99 mi) from Pyongyang, the International Friendship Exhibition consists of two imposing concrete structures built in the traditional architectural style with blue tile roofs.

Opened in 1978, the museum comprises more than 100 exhibition rooms with more than 115,000 items from more than 200 countries, according to the North’s state media.

The scale and importance of the collection makes it comparable to the Louvre in Paris, North Korean state media has said.

WHO ELSE SENT GIFTS?

The collection includes glassware sent by former US President Jimmy Carter, a teacup set from French President Francois Mitterrand, a basketball signed by Michael Jordan and gifted by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on her visit in 2000, and a rifle gifted by the late Cuban leader. Fidel Castro.

Propaganda plays a big role in how South Koreans’ gifts are displayed, and the big-screen television of former President Kim Dae-jung, who engaged Pyongyang with peace policies, received prominent display.

The Dynasty sedan, which was Hyundai Motor’s flagship, was gifted to Kim Jong Il by North Korean-born Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung, who spearheaded investments in the North after the inter-Korean summit in 2000.

Reporting by Jack Kim in Seoul and Lidia Kelly in Melbourne. Editing by Gerry Doyle

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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