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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Kim Jong-un’s luxury yacht with waterslide spotted near his villa

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A luxury yacht owned by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was spotted operating near his exclusive villa in Wonsan, Gangwon Province.

On July 8, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that satellite images taken by the U.S. commercial satellite company Planet Labs on June 27 and July 5 showed Kim’s luxury yacht sailing in the waters off Wonsan.

The yacht was observed almost 900 meters (2,953 feet) from the Galma Peninsula on June 27 and about 500 meters from the coastline where the Galma villa is located on July 5.


Kim Jong-un’s luxury yacht operating near his villa in Gangwon Province [Google Earth]

The 80-meter-long and 15-meter-wide yacht is equipped with a water slide and a 50-meter international standard swimming pool. It is primarily used by Kim’s family and occasionally by foreign dignitaries.

“It is estimated that Kim Jong-un or his family used the yacht for summer vacation at the Galma villa during the hot summer season,” said Jung Seong-hak, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Security Strategy. “Considering the dates not captured by the satellite images, the actual number of yacht operations is likely much higher.”


Kim Jong-un’s luxury 80-meter yacht (top) and 60-meter yacht anchored at a dock in Wonsan. [Planet Labs, Radio Free Asia]

Cho Han-bum, a senior research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification, suggested the possibility that the yacht was being trial-run in preparation for Kim’s summer vacation. He noted that the absence of Kim’s daughter Ju-ae from the local inspection events indicates that the family may have already started their vacation.

It is understood that North Korea possesses four luxury yachts owned by Kim Jong-un, each measuring 50 meters, 55 meters, 60 meters, and 80 meters in length. These yachts were reportedly introduced in the 1990s, before the start of UN sanctions against North Korea.

BY JEEHYE HAN, YOUNGNAM KIM [han.jeehye@joongang.co.kr]