North Korea`s Kim spends up to $200,000 on pets

UN agencies have said nearly six million North Koreans suffer serious food shortages.

Pyongyang: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il spends USD 100,000-200,000 each year to care for and feed dozens of pet dogs, even as his people suffer serious food shortages, a South Korean lawmaker said on Thursday.

Yoon Sang-Hyun, a member of Parliament`s foreign affairs and unification committee, cited intelligence sources for his information. The South`s intelligence agency declined comment.

Yoon, a member of the ruling conservative Grand National Party, also alleged other examples of extravagant spending in a report to Parliament.

The lawmaker said Kim last October imported several dozen Russian horses of the Orlov Trotter breed for his family, and bought 10 US jet skis between 2009-2010 for his youngest son and heir apparent Jong-Un.

Jong-Un rides them at family holiday mansions across the country, Yoon said, adding that most luxury good purchases were made through China -- the North`s sole major ally -- and Russia.

United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed after the North`s missile and nuclear tests ban the export of luxury items to the communist state.

Yoon said Kim last year also purchased some 600 bottles of fine French wine, and that they were consumed at parties for senior party and military officials.

"The luxury life for Kim Jong-Il`s family goes on regardless of the worsening suffering of North Koreans amid the third-generation succession," the legislator said.

UN agencies have said nearly six million people, a quarter of the population, suffer serious food shortages and a third of children under five are stunted by malnutrition.

They and private groups say the North has offered to let them monitor food deliveries to ensure aid goes only to the neediest.

Bureau Report

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