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Satellite images show Kim Jong-Un’s waterslide yacht in action, as North Korea battles famine and COVID-19


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with military officers in this undated photo released by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 16, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS

  • Satellite images captured the movements of Kim Jong-Un’s luxury yacht, suggesting it is partying.

  • North Korea is experiencing food shortages and battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The amusement park-themed yacht can be a good indicator of its whereabouts, NK News reported.

  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

Kim Jong-Un’s 260-foot luxury yacht was spotted heading for his private resort, suggesting he or his associates read to party during North Korea’s struggles with famine and COVID -19.

Satellite imagery company Planet Labs captured images of the yacht, along with a second yacht with a 200-foot pool, moored on the private beach near Kim’s Palace in Wonsan on July 12.

The images were published by South Korean outlet NK News, which tagged the images on its website. The climate around Wonsan throughout July is warm, ideal for swimming. The temperature on Tuesday was 86F.

A May tweet about the yacht’s movements included an image of the yacht:

The larger of the yachts is built like a floating amusement park, with a double slide, an Olympic-size swimming pool and a multi-story lounge, according to the store.

Satellite images show Kim Jong-Un’s waterslide yacht in action, as North Korea battles famine and COVID-19

Satellite image of Kim Jong-Un luxury resort in Wonsan, North Korea, from 2021 Google maps

It is not known who uses the luxury boats, which have been loaned to friends and family in the past.

Their movements coincide with the days when the leader did not make public appearances and can be a reasonably reliable indicator of his movements, according to NK News.

In April of last year, during a widespread retreat from public view, Kim’s 200-foot yacht was seen moving in the same spot.

Less than a month ago, Kim made a rare announcement saying there was a “tense” situation with North Korea’s food supply, which he attributed to last year’s typhoons. Food prices have skyrocketed, prompting a UN official to propose the lifting of sanctions to prevent massive famine, Reuters reported.

The country also recently hinted at a wave of COVID-19, after Kim reshuffled senior officials, accusing them of a “big crisis” in their response to the pandemic.

North Korea does not release COVID-19 data and has long claimed to be free from the virus, but reports from outside the country suggest there have been outbreaks in the past year.

The country has been slow in trying to access vaccines, despite being entitled to 2 million doses through the UN’s COVAX program, Voice of America News reported.

U.S. and South Korean officials have said it is plausible that Kim used the complex to protect herself from the virus in May of last year, Sky News reported. Kim is a heavy smoker, a high risk factor for complications for COVID-19.

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