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Kim's travel at Koreas summit in apparent Mercedes-Benz turning heads in Germany

The heavily guarded vehicle is seen transporting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Panmunjom, South Korea, on April 27, 2018. (Korea Summit Press Pool via AP)

BERLIN -- The Koreas summit has become a big topic in the German media for an unusual reason: Everyone is wondering how North Korean leader Kim Jong Un got his hands on a Mercedes-Benz.

During his high-profile meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Kim used a limousine that appeared to be a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a luxury brand produced by German automobile manufacturing giant Daimler. While footage of the 12 bodyguards running alongside the car was broadcast live around the world, Germans are wondering how the North Korean leader was able to get the car amidst strict U.N. Security Council sanctions on the isolated nation banning the import of German vehicles since nuclear tests in 2006.

Daimler told the online magazine Business Insider that it has not conducted any business with North Korea for over 15 years and is complying with the U.N. sanctions, denying that it had any role in selling the car to Kim. The company representative also stated that there is no information about the model and serial number of the vehicle.

While the online edition of the major German tabloid Bild reported that the North Korean government was able to slip through the net of sanctions to get luxury cars imported, it also surmised that Kim may have borrowed the vehicle from a South Korean acquaintance for the visit.

(Japanese original by Keisuke Nakanishi, Berlin Bureau)

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