North Korea is famed for being one of the most isolated countries on earth. Headlines relating to Pyongyang usually involve sabre-rattling and missile testing, with little else known about life inside the so-called ‘hermit kingdom’. But one thing that is clear is the level of poverty and hardship that most in the country face. It is estimated that 60 percent of the North Korean population lives below the poverty line, according to statistics from 2020.
At the start of this year, a report by Crisis Group highlighted that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un was preparing his country for “heavy yet responsible agony” in 2022.
While specific details of events in the country can be difficult to come by, the group said North Koreans will continue facing challenges in getting basic goods such as food and clothing.
But, while the average North Korean might live a hard life, various reports over the years have indicated that Kim does not endure such hardship.
Reports have told of his life of luxury since he took power in 2011.
Worth an estimated £3.6billion, Kim splurges his cash on luxury cars, expensive alcohol and property.
This includes his private island, which NBA legend and unlikely friend of Kim, Dennis Rodman, spoke about in 2013.
He told The Sun: “Kim’s island is amazing.
“It’s like going to Hawaii or Ibiza — but he’s the only one that lives there.
“He’s got 50 to 60 people around him all the time — just normal people, drinking cocktails and laughing the whole time.
“If you drink a bottle of tequila, it’s the best tequila.
“Everything you want, he has the best.”
Kim reportedly owns 17 palaces all spread across North Korea, with his main residence in the capital Pyongyang.
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The country has also warned the US and South Korea against joint military exercises.
Pyongyang warned that they will face “unprecedented” security threats and “undesirable” consequences if they do not halt their “military confrontation.”
Choe Jin, the deputy director of North Korea’s Institute of Disarmament and Peace, which is operated by the North Korean foreign ministry, said: “Should the US and its allies opt for military confrontation with us, they would be faced with unprecedented instability security-wise.
“The US should keep in mind that it will be treated on a footing of equality when it threatens us with nukes.”
South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol took office earlier this year, and he wants to make joint military exercises a regular occurrence.
Bruce Bennett, a senior defence analyst at the RAND Corporation, told Insider: “The US and South Korea are clearly demonstrating how close their alliance is.
“One has to wonder if Kim Jong-un isn’t realising that this is his fault. If he hadn’t done multiple missile tests this year, we would not be out showing the strength of our alliance.”