April 04, 2011 09:13
North Korea bought 94 Swiss watches for about US$200 each early this year, Radio Free Asia said Sunday.
Quoting data of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, the U.S.-funded radio station said the regime bought 94 watches from Switzerland for 14,000 Swiss francs in January and February.
Cho Myung-chul, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, said, "For Kim Il-sung's 60th birthday in 1972, Kim Jong-il presented senior party and government officials with Swiss Omega watches that had Kim Il-sung's name engraved on them, and since then he's given out watches on Feb. 16, his own birthday, and April 15, Kim Il-sung's birthday, every year."
The regime imported Swiss watches worth $2.4 million a year from 1995 to 2005 but none last year due to international sanctions imposed in the wake of its nuclear test.
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