Kim goes sailing as N Koreans seek food: Report

Kim Jong-il has been spending his August summer holiday on east coast at one of his several villas.

Seoul: As a growing number of North Koreans battle food shortages, the impoverished country`s leader has reportedly been sailing his luxury yacht in waters off his deluxe villa.

Kim Jong-il has been spending his August summer holiday on the east coast at one of his several villas, South Korea`s Yonhap news agency quoted a person familiar with the issue as saying on Thursday.

The report did not specify the type of his boat, but satellite images in the past have shown he uses a large cruiser.

Kim is renowned for leading a lavish lifestyle despite international sanctions banning the sale of luxury goods to try to squeeze North Korea for its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Experts say Kim showers ruling elites with expensive gifts to win their loyalty in order to maintain his iron grip on power. Most of the luxury goods are believed to come from China.

The North battles chronic food shortages, but this year it says the situation has worsened due to bad weather.

The European Union and aid agencies have responded to Pyongyang`s pleas for aid, but the United States and South Korea have refused to help, saying they have doubts the food will be sent to the most needy.

Bureau Report

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