North Korean Officials Attend Year-End Meeting In Luxury Sedans Despite UN Sanctions

North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un presided over the year-end meeting of the ruling party to review state policies for this year and discuss those for 2024.

North Korean Officials Attend Year-End Meeting In Luxury Sedans Despite UN Sanctions

UN maintains sanctions on the sale of luxury vehicles to North Korea.

Top North Korean officials hosted an expensive year-end meeting this week to gather the country's elites. According to South Korean news agency Yonhap News Agency, the Central Committee of the North Korean Worker's Party gathered in Pyongyang to review policies leading into the new year. They arrived in luxurious Mercedes S-class vehicles, despite a ban on luxury goods in the country. Notably, the United Nations maintains sanctions on the sale of luxury vehicles to North Korea. 

According to Yonhap, North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un presided over the year-end meeting of the ruling party to review state policies for this year and discuss those for 2024. At the meeting, party officials were seen emerging from the eighth-generation S-class limousine and other luxury cars, despite the international sanctions. 

The news agency noted that Kim Jong Un himself has previously made public appearances in different Mercedes-Maybach S-class vehicles, including a limousine. In 2020, he was also spotted in an SUV presumed to be a Lexus LX 570. Such luxury vehicles are subject to UN sanctions that ban the supply of luxury automobiles to North Korea. 

Notably, this comes weeks after an attempt to smuggle a $70,000 Lexus sedan into North Korea was foiled by the police in Japan, according to a report in South China Morning Post (SCMP). The car was intercepted on the same day North Korea recalled its ambassador to Switzerland amid an investigation into ivory trafficking, the outlet further said. The car was seized during a raid on a used car showroom on December 7 in Chiba prefecture. Japanese news outlet Asahi Shimbun reported that the showroom had submitted papers stating that the luxury car was being sent to Singapore via Bangladesh.

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The seizure became news because exports of luxury cars and other high-end items to North Korea are banned under a UN resolution. The ban came into force in 2006 when Pyongyang carried out underground nuclear tests.

Meanwhile, coming back to the event in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Un spoke at the meeting, where he called 2023 a "year of great turn and great change" and a "year of great importance". According to Fox News, he said that the last year in North Korea has achieved "eye-opening victories and events achieved in all fields for socialist constructions and the strengthening of the national power". 

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