Putin, Kim Take Turns in the Limo Driver's Seat

Leaders exchange gifts, one of which is an armored Russian-made Aurus
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2024 7:10 PM CDT
Putin, Kim Take Turns in the Limo Driver's Seat
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin prepare to drive a Russian Aurus limousine during their meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday.   (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin presented his North Korean host with a tea set, an admiral's dirk, and a retro-styled Aurus limousine, the very model he tools around Moscow in. Kim Jong Un counterpresented his guest with works of art depicting Putin, including busts, Reuters reports. Although a Russian spokesman called Kim's offerings "also very good presents," it was the armored, Russian-built Senat—designed to evoke the classic lines of the Soviet-era ZIL limousine—that the two rulers couldn't resist trying out. With cameras rolling, they took a spin Wednesday around what appeared to be a park in Pyongyang.

Putin also gave Kim an Aurus in February, and there was no official word on which one they cruised in Wednesday, per the BBC. Kim checked out Putin's car when they met in September, but his invitation extended only to sitting briefly in the back seat. This time, Putin got behind the wheel—as shown in a Russian state TV video—and Kim sat in the passenger seat. The car stops in a wooded area, where a suited man wearing white gloves opens Kim's door, then hurries to Putin's. The video shows them taking a walk, then getting back in the limo, this time with Kim driving. He appears to enjoy luxury cars, per Reuters. Kim has been seen in a Maybach limousine, several Mercedes, and a Rolls-Royce Phantom. The Guardian has the Russian video here. (Earlier in the day, the two rulers signed a partnership agreement.)

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