North Korea's Purebred Horses Aren't Home Grown

Customs data shows the country imported a dozen last year
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2020 6:34 AM CST
North Korea Turned to Russia for Its White Stallions
This undated photo provided on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, by the North Korean government shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and his wife Ri Sol Ju, second from right, riding on white horse during a visit to Mount Paektu, North Korea.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

An odd footnote to the story of Kim Jong Un's 2019 rides up a snowy sacred mountain on a white horse: It turns out North Korea imported 12 purebred horses from Russia in October, the same month as Kim's first ride. Reuters reports that customs data shows the 12 horses were worth $75,709, and it's not the first time North Korea has turned to Russia for horses. The 12 were part of a larger group of 138 horses that have been imported by North Korea since 2010, with an overall tally of $584,302.

NK News spoke with experts who said there's no concrete evidence that the horses imported in October were the same ones Kim and his entourage rode, though one says it's likely the horses were ones Russia supplied at some point. Another notes that the Russian export doesn't run afoul of UN Security Council resolutions, as "it represents a non-restricted trade cooperation of Russia with North Korea." (Kim's first ride up Mount Paektu in October was described as Putin-like.)

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