International

President Putin Gifts 2nd Russian Luxury Limousine To North Korean Leader Kim

Putin landed in North Korea in the early hours of Wednesday local time, exactly 24 years to the day he was last in Pyongyang, for a high-profile visit amidst international concerns over their growing military cooperation and Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un | Photo: AP
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Vladimir Putin on Wednesday gifted a second Aurus luxury limousine to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, as the two countries announced a breakthrough in their strategic partnership during the Russian president's rare visit to the reclusive state.

Putin landed in North Korea in the early hours of Wednesday local time, exactly 24 years to the day he was last in Pyongyang, for a high-profile visit amidst international concerns over their growing military cooperation and Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Putin said Russia and North Korea have ramped up ties to a “new level,” pledging to help each other if either nation is attacked.

Putin,71, gave Kim an Aurus luxury car when the two leaders exchanged gifts, according to Russian state media – the second time Putin has given his counterpart this car model. According to Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov, the Russian leader also presented Kim with a tea set. Ushakov did not specify what Putin received, but said they were "also good gifts."

"They have already exchanged gifts,” he said. “We gave an Aurus,” Ushakov told Tass news agency without specifying the model. “Yes, this is the second one, not the third [we have given to Kim], the second, for sure,” he added.

Later, Putin took Kim, 40, for a spin in the Russian-made Aurus car to cap their day of talks.

Photos released by Russian media showed Putin and Kim taking turns to take the wheel in the new Aurus around the guest house following the summit talks.

Putin showed a model of an Aurus Motors executive car to the North Korean leader last September during Kim’s visit to the Vostochny Cosmodrome space launch site in the Amur Region in Russia’s Far East.

In February this year Putin gifted an Aurus to Kim. He became the first leader to receive it as a gift, Tass reported without revealing the model.

"When the leader of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] was at the Vostochny Cosmodrome spaceport, he saw this car; Putin personally showed it to him. Like many [auto enthusiasts], he liked the car, and so the decision was made (to present it to him as a gift),” Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in February.

In May, Putin presented King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa with a long version of the Aurus car, Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov said.

Meanwhile, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that giving a vehicle as a gift to Kim constitutes a violation of UN Security Council sanctions banning the supply, sale and transfer of luxury items to North Korea, under Resolution 2397 adopted in December 2017.

The resolution was adopted unanimously on December 22, 2017, in response to North Korea's launch of a intercontinental ballistic missile on November 28 of that year.

Aurus is the first Russian luxury car brand, which started to be built in 2013 under a contract with the Industry and Trade Ministry. The project calls for the development of vehicles both to replace current cars used by senior government officials and for sale to the general public.

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