North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to return home from his diplomatic summit in Russia, bearing a unique array of gifts bestowed upon him by his Russian hosts. These offerings include a high-quality rifle, a cosmonaut’s glove, and military drones, some of which may contravene United Nations sanctions. These items are destined for North Korea’s “friendship” museum, where gifts received by the nation’s three generations of leaders are meticulously preserved.
Gifts from Russia:
Following his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kim received a Russian-made rifle, described by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as “of the highest quality.” In return, Kim presented Putin with a rifle crafted by North Korean artisans.
Putin, known for his flair for unconventional gifts, added to the collection by offering a glove worn by a cosmonaut during a space mission, a gesture reported by Russia’s TASS news agency.
Oleg Kozhemyako, the governor of Russia’s Primorsky region, contributed to the assortment with modern lightweight body armor designed for assault operations, designed to protect the chest, shoulders, throat, and groin. These gifts underscore the close relationship between the two leaders.
However, it’s the inclusion of military drones in the gifts that has raised international eyebrows. Kim was presented with five one-way attack drones and a Geranium-25 reconnaissance drone. The latter is known to be widely used in the conflict in Ukraine, a development that contravenes at least two UN Security Council resolutions against North Korea, even though Russia voted in favor of these resolutions, citing North Korea’s banned missile and nuclear activities.
Kim’s visit to Vladivostok also included an unexpected gift – a fur hat from Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. There was some amusing intrigue as officials scrambled to determine the right size for the hat, with Russia’s ambassador to Pyongyang, Alexander Matsegora, humorously suggesting a size slightly smaller than his own “very large head.”
International Friendship Exhibition:
North Korea has a longstanding tradition of showcasing gifts received by its leaders from foreign dignitaries. The International Friendship Exhibition, located in the Myohyangsan mountain hills, is a testament to this practice. Comprising over 100 showrooms and more than 115,000 items from over 200 countries, it is considered on par with renowned museums like the Louvre in Paris.
Notable Past Gifts:
The exhibition also houses an eclectic collection of gifts from other world leaders. These include crystalware from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a tea cup set from French President Francois Mitterrand, and a basketball signed by Michael Jordan, given by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during her visit in 2000. Additionally, the museum features a rifle gifted by the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
The exhibition serves as a showcase of North Korea’s diplomatic history and its interactions with the global community, emphasizing the importance of diplomatic gestures and symbolism in international relations.
Sources By Agencies