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Satellite images show Kim Jong-Un’s water-slide yacht in action, while North Korea struggles with famine and COVID-19

  • Satellite images caught the movements of Kim Jong-Un’s luxury yacht, suggesting he is partying.
  • North Korea is undergoing food shortages and struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The amusement-park-themed yacht can be a good indicator of his whereabouts, NK News reported.

Kim Jong-Un’s 260-ft luxury yacht has been spotted moving towards his private compound, suggesting he or his associates are reading to party during North Korea’s struggles with famine and COVID-19. 

Satellite-imaging company Planet Labs captured pictures of the yacht, as well as a second 200-ft pool yacht, moored at the private beach near Kim’s palace at Wonsan on July 12.

The images were published by the South-Korea based outlet NK News, which has marked up the images on its website. The weather around Wonsan in July is warm, ideal for swimming. The temperature Tuesday was 86F.

A tweet from May about the yacht’s movements included an image of the yacht:

The larger of the yachts is constructed as a floating amusement park, with a double waterslide, an Olympic-sized pool and a multi-story lounge, according to the outlet. 

Satellite image of Kim Jong-Un's luxury compound in Wonsan, North Korea, as of 2021

Satellite image of Kim Jong-Un’s luxury compound in Wonsan, North Korea, as of 2021

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It is unclear who is using the luxury boats, which have been lent to friends and family in the past.

Their movements coincide with days the leader did not make public appearances and can be a reasonably reliable indicator of his movements, according to NK News. 

In April last year, during an extensive withdrawal from public view, Kim’s 200-ft yacht was spotted moving around the same spot.

Less than a month ago, Kim made a rare announcement saying there was a “tense” situation with North Korea’s food supply, which he attributed to typhoons in the last year. Food prices have skyrocketed, prompting one UN official to propose lifting sanctions in order to prevent mass starvation, Reuters reported

The country also recently hinted at a COVID-19 surge, after Kim reshuffled his senior officials, blaming them for a “great crisis” in their response to the pandemic.

North Korea does not release COVID-19 data, and has long claimed to be free of the virus, but reports from outside the country suggest there have been surges in the last year.

The country has been sluggish in attempting to access vaccines, despite being entitled to 2 million doses through the UN’s COVAX scheme, Voice of America News reported

US and South Korean officials said that it is plausible that Kim used the resort to shelter from the virus in May last year, Sky News reported. Kim is a heavy smoker, a high risk factor in complications for COVID-19. 

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