North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has returned from Russia laden with a bounty of presents bestowed upon him by his Russian hosts. These gifts encompass various items, from a superior Russian rifle to a cosmonaut’s glove and, more controversially, several military drones. This ensemble of presents signifies deepening ties between North Korea and Russia, with each item narrating a tale of friendship and alliance.
Kim’s visit was marked by exchanging top-tier rifles with President Putin, creating a sense of mutual respect and understanding between the two leaders. Putin’s offerings did not stop there; he handed over a glove from a spacesuit that once graced the cosmic orbits, adding a touch of space history to the collection. Further adding to the military-themed gifts, the governor of the Primorsky region presented Kim with state-of-the-art, lightweight body armour, a testament to the advancing military collaboration.
However, a contention arose with gifting several drones, including five attack drones and a Geranium-25 reconnaissance drone. This move violates the stipulations set forth by the UN Security Council despite receiving a nod from Moscow.
International Friendship Exhibition: A Museum of Diplomatic Gifts
These gifts have reached North Korea’s illustrious “friendship” museum, officially known as the International Friendship Exhibition. Nestled amidst the picturesque Myohyangsan mountains, this monumental museum serves as a vault of diplomacy, safeguarding gifts across three generations of North Korean leaders.
Inaugurated in 1978, the grandeur and significance of this repository are often likened to the world-renowned Louvre in Paris, boasting an impressive collection exceeding 115,000 items hailing from over 200 nations. This hub of diplomatic gifting echoes the tales of friendship fostered by North Korea with numerous global leaders and dignitaries, including gifts from luminaries like former US President Jimmy Carter and French President Francois Mitterrand.
A highlight in the collection is a basketball signed by Michael Jordan, a gift from former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Notably, the museum commemorates peace initiatives with South Korea, exhibiting significant gifts such as a Hyundai Dynasty sedan from Chung Ju-yung, the North Korean-born founder of the Hyundai Group, representing a beacon of inter-Korean investments post the 2000 summit.