Kim Jong Un Orders Mandatory Donations For Submarines
'Envious' Supreme Leader Demands Money From Diplomats
After his summit in Russia with President Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly ordered all personnel attached to diplomatic missions abroad to “donate” US$100 each to a new fund that will go toward the construction of “cutting-edge” submarines and other warships, Radio Free Asia reported on September 27.
Sources familiar with the situation told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that Kim had been “shocked” by the high-tech weaponry he had seen during his tour of military facilities in Russia, including a naval base for its Pacific Fleet.
Kim's awe at Russia's arsenal comes at a time when the North Korean supreme leader is ramping up efforts to modernize North Korea's weapon's sophistication. In recent reports, Kim Jong Un has been "talking up" nuclear weapons to the nation's parliament.
The donation mandate was sent to the North Korean Embassy in China and its consulates in Shenyang, Dandong, and Hong Kong, according to a source in Beijing. The order was reportedly issued before the country’s Party Foundation Day on Oct. 10.
The source said the order stated that the construction of new warships and submarines was a top priority that could no longer be postponed. Embassy personnel and those working in overseas companies have been asked to donate the $100, with the ambassador in Beijing sending out the same order to North Korean consulates.
However, building submarines is not cheap. Construction costs for a nuclear-powered submarine, such as the French-designed Barracuda-class, can run around $1.19 billion each.
A source in Shenyang told RFA that the order was also a test of loyalty, and that future instructions will likely continue to ask for funding. Companies did not force the workers to donate but instead anticipate that some of the workers will demonstrate their loyalty with a large donation, which will then put pressure on the rest of the workers to better or match that amount.
“The workers could not hide their sense of dejection at the instructions,” the Shenyang source said.
Kim’s order comes as tensions between North Korea and the United States have been escalating, with the two countries trading barbs over the former’s nuclear weapons program. It remains to be seen how the North Korean leader’s order to raise funds for the construction of submarines and other warships will play out in the ongoing stand-off.