January 26, 2018 2:57 pm
Updated: February 26, 2018 7:12 am

Kim Jong Un’s ‘slush fund’ running dry after so many nuclear missile tests: report

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly running out of a critical "slush fund" after all the nuclear testing over the past year.

KCNA/via Reuters

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un is running out of an inherited “slush fund” after a series of pricey nuclear weapon and missile tests, according to a report.

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Two Chinese sources with connections to North Korean government officials told Radio Free Asia on Wednesday that Kim, who is now in his seventh year of ruling the country, is draining the inheritance he received when coming into power, which is used to help run the country.

READ MORE: North Korea accidentally hit its own city in a missile test: report

“Due to Kim Jong Un’s extravagant spending, the slush fund from his father, Kim Jong Il, is running out,” one of the sources told the publication.

“It won’t be easy to control North Korea’s high-level executives, who are [cunning] like racoons.”

WATCH: The nuclear threat posed by North Korea to the rest of the world

The sources said the funds are nearly exhausted because of all the money put towards missile and nuclear weapon tests as well as other luxurious projects, like his Masikryong Ski Resort.

Over the past few months, North Korea has launched numerous missile tests, with the most recent one having a range of around 13,000 kilometres — putting it within range of Washington, D.C.

The source said a majority of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile tests have taken place during Kim’s leadership.

READ MORE: North Korea fires ballistic missile, said to be longest-range test yet

South Korean government analysis has put North Korea’s nuclear spending at US$1.1 billion to US$3.2 billion overall, Reuters reported last year (although experts say it’s impossible to make an accurate calculation given the secrecy surrounding the program).

“We can speculate that he spent a lot of money from the number of missile [and nuclear weapons] tests he carried out,” the source told Radio Free Asia.

“Most of the funding for nuclear weapon and missile development is coming from Kim Jong Un’s slush fund.”

WATCH: Kim Jong Un vows to create more nuclear weapons

Winter Olympic strategy?

With funds running low, another source told the media outlet that North Korea’s participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is a way to “improve relations” and “solicit charity.”

READ MORE: What happens to North Korea’s aid money

“North Korea’s warm gestures toward South Korea have underlying intentions: to use the Pyongchang Winter Olympics that will be held there from Feb. 9 as a breakthrough for their financial difficulties,” the source said.

Sanctions and food shortages

The United Nations has slapped several sanctions on the Hermit Kingdom since the country conducted its first nuclear test in 2006. This has made it difficult for the country to earn foreign cash.

READ MORE: Here are the latest United Nations sanctions on North Korea

Tina Park, founder of the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, said a lot of North Korea’s economic problems are the government’s fault. “North Korea is very poor, from objective standards. But one-quarter of their GDP goes straight to the military,” she said.

She said the nation’s “luxury spending” has actually gone up in the past few years, which is “mind boggling if you look at how poor the entire population is,” Parker added.

WATCH: North Korea calls latest U.N. sanctions an ‘act of war’, talks up nuclear threat to U.S. mainland

“And yet they’re building ski resorts and spending money on very luxurious goods,” she said.

North Korea has experienced famines in its history, and the CIA believes that it is unable to produce enough food domestically to feed its people.

READ MORE: Injured defector’s parasites and diet hint at hard life in North Korea

In November, a North Korean soldier who defected to South Korea had an enormous parasitic worm in his stomach. Doctors who removed the 27 centimetre worm said it points to the hygiene and food problem for many North Koreans.

“Although we do not have solid figures showing health conditions of North Korea, medical experts assume that parasite infection problems and serious health issues have been prevalent in the country,” Choi Min-Ho, a professor at Seoul National University College of Medicine, told the Associated Press.

The soldier’s condition was “not surprising at all considering the north’s hygiene and parasite problems,” he added.

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— With files from Global News’ Leslie Young

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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