South Korea Reiterates UN Sanctions Compliance After Putin’s Gift to Kim Jong-unHyundai and Kia Report Increase in European Sales Fueled by SUV Demand

SEOUL — South Korea highlighted the importance of United Nations (UN) sanctions compliance by all member states, following reports of a luxury car gift from Russian President Vladimir Putin to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The statement was made by a foreign ministry spokesperson in a briefing on Tuesday, emphasizing Russia's obligation under UN sanctions resolutions against North Korea.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Kim Jong-un received the Russian-made luxury vehicle as a symbol of the special relationship between him and Putin. The gift comes after a rare summit between the two leaders in September last year, which led to expanded cooperation between the countries. This cooperation has raised suspicions of North Korea providing military support to Russia for its involvement in Ukraine, potentially in exchange for weapons technology.

The delivery of such a luxury vehicle to North Korea may contravene UN sanctions, which prohibit the supply and transfer of luxury goods to the country. The foreign ministry spokesperson, Lim Soo-suk, specified that the sanctions cover the direct and indirect provision, sale, or transfer of all transportation means to North Korea, spanning international trade classification codes 86 to 89, including luxury cars.

Lim further stated that South Korea will continue to collaborate with the international community to ensure the enforcement of UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea.

SEOUL - Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Corp. experienced a 1.2 percent increase in their European sales in January, compared to the same period last year, driven largely by the popularity of their SUV models. The automotive companies revealed on Tuesday that they sold a total of 86,525 vehicles in Europe in January, an increase from 85,466 units a year earlier, citing data from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association.

According to the companies, their market share in the European passenger vehicle sector was 8.5 percent last month, a slight decrease from 9.4 percent a year ago. They ranked fourth in sales volume behind Volkswagen Group, which held a 25.4 percent share, Stellantis with 18 percent, and Renault Group at 9.2 percent. Hyundai's Tucson and Kona SUVs, along with their gasoline hybrid versions, were highlighted as the best-selling models, though specific figures for Kia's models were not disclosed. This report comes in a context where vehicle sales across Europe saw an 11.5 percent increase in February, reaching 1,015,381 units up from 911,036 in the previous year.

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