German automaker Daimler said it has no idea how North Korean leader Kim Jong Un acquired its high-end limousines since it has no business relationship with the reclusive nation and U.N. sanctions prevent the sale of luxury goods to the North.
Kim used Daimler-branded stretch limousines at his two summits with President Trump and at his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The presence of Kim with Daimler limos confounded company officials, who cited the sanctions imposed on North Korea in order to pressure the country to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
“We have absolutely no idea how those vehicles were delivered to North Korea,” Daimler spokeswoman Silke Mockert said in a written response to an Associated Press report Wednesday on the limousines. “For Daimler, the correct export of products in conformance with the law is a fundamental principle of responsible entrepreneurial activity.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s limousine arrives for a wreath-laying ceremony in Vladivostok, Russia, Friday, April 26, 2019. (Associated Press)
In addition to limousines, Kim is believed to have used a Mercedes Maybach S600 Pullman Guard and a Mercedes Maybach S62 for his two summits with Trump, both of which are banned under the sanctions. During discussions between the two leaders, Kim wanted to get rid of the ban on the sale of luxury goods to his country.
Trump ended up balking at the request and Kim’s other demands and the talks failed.
Daimler is one of the biggest providers of high-end cars in the world. It sells vehicles all over the world, but North Korea is not one of its official customers, according to its website.
“Our company has had no business connections with North Korea for far more than 15 years now and strictly complies with E.U. and U.S. embargoes,” Daimler spokeswoman Silke Mockert said. “To prevent deliveries to North Korea and to any of its embassies worldwide, Daimler has implemented a comprehensive export control process. Sales of vehicles by third parties, especially of used vehicles, are beyond our control and responsibility.”
The Mercedes-Benz Pullman limousines Kim used offers "a superbly appointed setting for discreet meetings," according to Daimler.
It's equipped with all the key communications and entertainment systems so its occupants can remain "fully in touch with the rest of the world while enjoying the luxury and comfort of their own very special place in it."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.