South Korea scrutinizes Kim Jong Un’s lifestyle and spending habits

South Korea’s Unification Ministry monitors the importation of luxury goods into North Korea and notes a notable increase in wealth among the country’s elite.

The ruling Kim dynasty and other high-ranking figures in North Korea have increased their consumption of designer imports and luxury items.

“North Korea appears to be introducing luxury goods worth hundreds of millions of Korean won, or even billions, every year for the Kim Jong Un family,” an unnamed ministry official told reporters, according to the news agency Yonhap.

He told media that “the volume of imported goods declined during the COVID-19 pandemic due to border controls, but has recovered since the second half of last year.”

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Kim Jong Un prepares to visit Russia

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets officers in Pyongyang, North Korea, before boarding a train bound for Russia. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

Supreme leader Kim Jong Un and his family – sometimes called the Mount Paektu lineage – have been documented in the past wearing expensive items such as Swiss watches.

North Korea began as a communist country under the protection and mentorship of the Soviet Union after the end of World War II.


Kim Jong Il Kim Il Sung statues North Korea

Citizens bow to statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il as the country marks the 25th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s death, on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, North Korea. (KIM WON JIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Since its inception, North Korea’s communist ideology has evolved into a philosophy known as “Juche.” which places all functional power in the hands of the “supreme leader”.

The Mount Paektu lineage and its satellite families amassed immense wealth through this system, maintaining a luxurious lifestyle even amid periods of nationwide destitution and famine.

“Kim gives luxury cars as gifts to officials he particularly favors or those who have made special achievements in the military field,” the official said, according to Yonhap news agency.

North Korean Navy Headquarters visited by Kim Jong Un

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, visits the navy headquarters in North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)


They added: “It also distributes Swiss watches like Omega or the latest electronic devices at events commemorating the Kim family’s birthdays or the party congress.”

North Korea has been accused by international authorities of selling weapons to Russian invasion forces in Ukraine and Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

This black market represents a major revenue opportunity for North Korea, which suffers from restrictions on foreign trade due to its long history of human rights abuses.


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