Kim Jong-un, a Chrome AK & a New Lexus

    Kim Jong-Un

    Kim Jong-un presents a chome Type 88 rifle (N.Korea State Media via NK News)

    Recently a photo of North Korea’s fearless leader, the supreme leader of North Korea and the chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Kim Jong-un presenting a beautiful chrome Type 88 rifle to a soldier of the Changlin Island defense unit. Type 88 is the indigenously manufactured North Korean version of the AK-74, chambered in 5.45×39mm. It is in service alongside the 7.62×39mm, Type 68 AKM clone.

    Chromed weapons in North Korea are often seen in press and propaganda photos that feature the secretive country’s military. Previously we have seen chromed Type 73 light machine guns, which is an indigenous North Korean dual-feed design.

    A chromed Type 73 light machine gun (N. Korean state news)

    The Chromed Type 88 seen in the photograph has a side folding stock and a chromed magazine. It wasn’t the rifle that caused a stir when the photograph appeared online, however, it was what appears in the background – next to what looks to be a football (soccer) goalpost. Yes, that’s what appears to be a brand new Lexus SUV, I’m not a Lexus guy but it looks like a Lexus LX570 – maybe our Lexus aficionado readers can confirm or correct that below in the comments!

    A close-up crop of the still of the ceremony from a Chosun Central TV report from Nov. 2019, the supreme leader hands over the chromed Type 88, complete with chromed mag and sling, while in the background is a brand new Lexus LX570 (Chosun Central TV/N. Korea State media)

    The appearance of a brand new Lexus raises some questions considering the sanctions North Korea currently faces. It’s estimated by the UN Security Council that over $5 million worth of luxury goods are imported into the isolationist North Korea, varying estimates suggest the goods come from between 30 and 90 countries.

    What would you rather have; a chromed North Korean Type 88 or a new Lexus? Let us know in the comments below.

    Matthew Moss

    Matthew Moss – Assistant Editor.

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written for a variety of publications in both the US and UK he also runs www.historicalfirearms.info, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of www.armourersbench.com, a new video series on historically significant small arms.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]


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