On Tuesday, August 8th, President Donald Trump warned North Korea that if they continue to threaten the United States, the country will face “fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
The strong response from the president came after a report by the Washington Post said that North Korea has “successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.” They warned that “physical action will be taken mercilessly with the mobilization of all its national strength” against the United States.
This latest development has done much to draw attention to Kim Jong-un. As North Korea’s supreme leader, the notoriously private Kim Jong-un has amassed a sizable fortune since taking over for his late father Kim Jong-il in 2011.
Here’s what you need to know about Kim Jong-un’s Net Worth.
1. He Has An Estimated Net Worth of $5 Billion
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Kim Jong-un has an estimated net worth of $5 billion. By comparison, other world leaders like President Trump or Queen Elizabeth II, have estimated net worths of $3.5 billion and $550 million, respectively.
Celebrity Net Worth adds that Kim Jong-un has his fortune spread over 200 foreign bank accounts located throughout the world in countries including Austria, Lichtenstein, Russia, Singapore, China, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
This sizable net worth has led to many criticizing Kim Jong-un, given the financial divide between him and the rest of the citizens in North Korea. In 2013, Mic reported that his wife Ri Sol-ju was photographed with a Christian Dior handbag that cost $1,600, while the average annual salary in North Korea is an estimated $1,500.
2. He’s Bought Several Expensive Gifts for His Commanders & Family Members
Kim Jong-un has developed a reputation for buying extravagant gifts for those in his inner circle. In 2010, MSN reported that he bought top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz sedans for 160 of his highest-ranking officials. This generosity cost Kim somewhere in the ballpark of $11.7 million.
International Business Times reports that Kim Jong-un uses a great deal of his funds to “buy the loyalty of high-ranking officials.” This includes bottles of alcohol (namely, whiskey and cognac) which cost an estimated $30 million, electronic goods which cost an estimated $37 million and designer watches which cost another $8.2 million.
Kim also provides Ri Sol-Ju with numerous gifts. In 2016, a report by UPI claimed that the first lady of North Korea is unpopular due to her lavish lifestyle. One male worker in the province of Yanggangdo told UPI that Ri Sol-Ju seemingly flaunts her wealth whenever she’s in public: “What did she do to earn such praise? And why does she carry a moneybag everywhere she goes? Is she giving out money?”
3. He Spends 20% of the State’s Budget to Maintain His Thoroughbred Horses
Kim Jong-un is an avid equine enthusiast, and North Korea’s expenses reflect this. MSN reports that 20% of the state’s budget is spent on the upkeep and maintenance of his thoroughbred horses and their respective training facilities. This is a staggering amount considering North Korea’s last publicly shared budget was $62 million in 2008.
According to People’s Daily Online, Kim regularly inspects each facility, and is present as his personnel trains the horses. “Watching their brave training,” Daily Online writes, “He was satisfied with the fact that commanding officers and men are possessed of the admirable horsemanship.” Kim also enjoys riding horses.
This is an interest that he shares with his father, Kim Jong-il, who also spent millions of dollars on horses, according to North Korea Leadership Watch reports. After his death, Kim Jong-un erected a statue of him riding a galloping horse in 2012.
Kim Jong-un’s other expensive vices include a private luxury cinema, a custom-designed yacht, and an expansive DVD collection, despite the fact that it is illegal to import films in North Korea. MSN reports that he owns over 20,000 films, with his favorites being Godzilla and the Rambo franchise.
4. His Spending Has Led to Nearly Half of the Population Being Undernourished
In the years since Kim Jong-un has taken power, North Korea’s imports of luxury goods have doubled from around $300 million to an estimated $645 million, according to The Telegraph.
Kim has used the rest of North Korea’s shared budget to prioritize the Korean military and the acquisition of nuclear weapons. All the while, the health of the general population suffers. “Amidst political tensions, an estimated 18 million across DPRK [North Korea] continue to suffer from food insecurity and undernutrition, as well as a lack of access to basic services,” states a United Nations report from earlier this year, “Furthermore, 10.5 million, or 41 percent of the total population, are undernourished.”
Newsweek adds that the state rations of cereal and potatoes were reduced from 380 grams in 2016 to 300 grams this year, which amounts to less than a pound of food a day. By comparison, the UN explains that the government average should be 573 grams per person per day.
“Consequently, critical needs of some of the most vulnerable have not been met,” states the report, “More predictable funding is urgently required to ensure the immediate needs of the most vulnerable are addressed.”
5. He Spends 24% of North Korea’s Domestic Gross on its Military
According to Newsweek, Kim Jong-un spends an estimated 24% of North Korea’s gross domestic product on its navy, army and air force. Amnesty International East Asia researcher Arnold Fang discussed these conditions with News.com: “We know they spend possibly as much as 22 per cent of GDP on military spending. As you can imagine, with that high a proportion, a lot of other public expenses may be compromised.”
Fang went on to say “People are drafted into the army for a very long time. It could easily be seven years or I’ve heard some cases where people spend ten years in the army. This applies to most men who are physically able to do so.”
Furthermore, Pyongyang’s Workers’ Party journalist Rodong Sinmun says that “In order to handle the critical situation of the nuclear threat and endless war provocations of the United States and its followers” Kim Jong-un is committed to spending in order to “strengthen the self-defense and pre-emptive capabilities centered around our nuclear armed forces.”