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by March 13, 2019 Medical and Health

UN sanctions monitors are investigating Kim Jong Un’s luxury purchases of a Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz limousines and Lexus four-wheel-drive vehicles rolled out during the North Korean leader’s recent international meetings, the head of the panel told AFP Tuesday.

Kim drew the attention of sanctions experts when he turned up at a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang in October in a brand-new Rolls-Royce Phantom limousine.

At the Singapore summit with President Donald Trump in June, Kim’s entourage was ferried in a fleet of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars, none of which had license plates.

And a number of Lexus LX570 all-wheel drive luxury vehicles were used by the North Korean delegation at an inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang in September.

“The North Koreans procure what they want. They get the best when they need it,” said Hugh Griffiths, who for the past five years has been the coordinator of the UN panel of experts investigating sanctions-busting by North Korea.

The Security Council has barred North Korea from exporting coal and other commodities, curbed deliveries of oil and fuel and restricted banking, among other measures aimed at choking off revenue to Pyongyang’s weapons program.

The sale of luxury goods including high-end cars, yachts and jewelry to North Korea has been banned since 2013, and the list of lavish items has been extended in subsequent sanctions resolutions.

The use of the swanky, expensive cars at summits was seen as a brazen display by Kim of his defiance of international sanctions, at a time when North Korea has appealed for UN help to deal with food shortages.

“Violating sanctions is bad behavior and such obvious violations at international events aren’t helpful, in my view, for enforcing of sanctions,” Griffiths said.

“You don’t want to make a mockery of the sanctions.”

The UN panel released a report on Tuesday that detailed highly-sophisticated evasion tactics used by North Korea to circumvent the sweeping sanctions imposed for its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Source: National News Agency