Luxury imports have jumped to 10 percent of national budget since Kim Jong-Un’s rise to power

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and wife Ri Sol-Ju visit the Haedanghwa shopping mall in Pyongyang.  KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and wife Ri Sol-Ju visit the Haedanghwa shopping mall in Pyongyang. KCNA

SEOUL — North Korea’s imports of luxury goods have surged to over 10 percent of its annual budget in 2012, the first year of youthful leader Kim Jong-Un in office according to a South Korean government report. Analysts and officials attributed the sharp rise, despite worsening economic troubles and international sanctions, to Kim’s penchant for luxury brands and his “gift politics” to reward the ruling elite with expensive foreign goods to win their loyalty.

 (FULL STORY)

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