North Korea, which previously staged photo-ops of leader Kim Jong Un riding a white stallion, has spent more than $500,000 importing horses from Russia over the past decade, according to Russian customs data.
Last year, the rogue nation paid $75,509 to import a dozen Russian purebred horses, according to recently available data reviewed by Reuters.
The purchases could mean the isolated country has been bolstering its heard, as it had a history of buying high-priced horses from its Russian neighbor.
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The newest additions marked North Korea’s largest purchase of Russian horses since 2015, when the secretive regime paid $192,204 for 61 horses.
The country has imported at least 138 horses between 2010 and 2019 at a cost of $584,302, the news outlet reported. The purchases came as Pyongyang has continued to push for sanctions relief over its nuclear and missile programs.
Kim was photographed riding a white stallion on the snow-covered slopes of sacred Paektu Mountain, in images released last year. Senior North Korean military officials accompanied him as he rode through historic battlefields.
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The December photo-op supposedly came a day after his country issued a veiled threat to the United States over its “hostile policies” of denuclearization.
State media played up the displays as a show of strength.