Kim Ju-ae, the daughter of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, was recently seen wearing what appears to be a product of a luxury brand Christian Dior, marking a stark contrast to the living conditions of ordinary people in one of the poorest countries in the world.
The girl, one of Kim’s three known children and believed to be 10 years old, appeared on a video released on March 17 by the North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency, accompanying her father in observing the previous day’s launch of the Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile. It was the latest in a series of appearances of the daughter in the hermit kingdom’s propaganda.
South Korean media on Thursday pointed out that the hooded winter jacket Ju-ae was seen wearing appears to be a Dior kid's hooded down jacket with a price tag of $1,900.
The lavish lifestyle of the North Korean leadership has been well documented, such as former leader Kim Jong-il's taste for expensive wine and food that was testified to by his personal chef Kenji Fujimoto in his book. Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who visited North Korea and befriended Kim Jong-un, has also spoken in interviews about the Kim family's wealth.
Rodman was also the person who first notified the outside world to the existence of Ju-ae, having held her as an infant during his visit to North Korea.
The luxurious lifestyles of the North Korean dictator and his family have often been subject to criticism by those outside of the communist state, as studies indicate that the majority of North Koreans live in poverty. A 2020 study by researchers from Vienna University of Economics and Business said that 60 percent of the country's population are estimated to be living in absolute poverty.
Exact numbers on the North Korean economy are unclear, as it remains one of the most reclusive countries in the world. But according to South Korea’s central Bank of Korea, the gross national income of North Korea in 2021 was 36.3 trillion won ($28.1 billion), about 3.5 percent of that of South Korea for the same year.