UK & World News

  • 16 February 2013, 17:55

North Korea: Kim Watches Given To Top Brass

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has handed out wrist watches with the name of his dead father on them as awards to party members.

Footage shown on the communist country's state TV station showed soldiers, officials and scientists being presented with boxes containing the watches in a ceremony.

The awards took place in honour of the birthday of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il, a national holiday known as the "Day of the Shining Star".

As part of the celebrations on Friday, Kim gave watches to people who were deemed to have done something extraordinary for the government.

The leader made sure service personnel, scientists, technicians and labour innovators who have performed "brilliant feats in defence of the country" were awarded watches, said North Korea's official news agency KCNA.

It is the first time watches have been presented with the name of Kim Jong-Il on them.

In the past, watches featuring the name of the first Korean dictator, Jong-Il's father Kim Il-Sung, were handed out.

In 1972 and every year thereafter, Kim Jong-Il presented Swiss Omega watches with the name of his father engraved on them on the birthday of Kim Il-Sung. Kim Jong-Il died in 2011.

Sanctions against the regime over its nuclear policy started to affect North Korea's ability to import Swiss watches in 2010.

It is not known whether the latest watches are from Switzerland.

Kim Jong-Un is known to like luxury Swiss goods. He was spotted sporting a luxury Swiss watch believed to be a Patek Philippe worth 50,000 at a ceremony in October 2010 celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Workers Party.

Earlier this week, North Korea conducted its third nuclear test, drawing global condemnation and a stern warning from the United States that it was a threat and a provocation.

North Korea has also told its key ally, China, that it is prepared to stage one or even two more nuclear tests this year in an effort to force the US into diplomatic talks, said a source with direct knowledge of the message.

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