Published On: Wed, Mar 13th, 2019

North Korean Ruler Kim Jong-un: Luxury Cars Despite Sanctions

Expert Coordinator Hugh Griffiths: “North Koreans get what they want”. Public violations of sanctions are “not helpful”.

Kim Jong-Un

Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus – Luxury cars for North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong-un have called for United Nations sanctions monitors. “The North Koreans are getting what they want,” Hugh Griffiths, coordinator of the United Nations Sanctions Committee on UNO Sanctions, told AFP Tuesday. “They get the best when they need it.”

Kim had in October for catered stir when he (around 400,000 euro price) drove to a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang with a new Rolls-Royce Phantom. At the summit with US President Donald Trump last June in Singapore, the North Korean delegation had a whole fleet of Mercedes sedans without license plates. At a Korean summit in Pyongyang in September North Korean representatives used cars from the Toyota luxury brand Lexus.

Driving up the expensive cars was considered Kim’s signal that he cares little about the sanctions imposed on his country. Griffiths criticized this approach. Such “obvious violations” of sanctions at international meetings are “not helpful”. “You do not make fun of sanctions.”

The Expert Committee released a report Tuesday about North Korea bypassing the sanctions imposed on its nuclear weapons and missile program. Thus Pyongyang can export coal and import oil despite the international sanctions. The goods are transhipped from one cargo ship to another on the high seas. “It’s crazy what’s happening in international waters now,” Griffith said. “There is anarchy.”

To what extent the fleet of the ruling family is equipped with Western luxury vehicles is unknown. The German manufacturer Daimler emphasizes that the company does not deliver limousines to North Korea. “Daimler has had no business relations with North Korea for more than 15 years and adheres strictly to the US and EU regulations,” it said recently on request. In order to prevent deliveries to the country or one of its embassies worldwide, the company has introduced a comprehensive export control process.