July 28, 2023
SEOUL – South Korea’s National Intelligence Service believes the mobile device pictured next to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un earlier this month is likely a Chinese product, according to the state agency’s assessment obtained by the National Assembly on Thursday.
In its assessment, the NIS said the foldable smartphone is believed to be a Chinese product smuggled in by rail after the cross-border freight train operations between North Korea and China resumed in September last year.
The NIS is trying to ascertain how the smartphone was brought into North Korea and how it was paid for, the assessment read.
In the photo from the July 12 test-launch of the solid-fuel Hwaseong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile, Kim was seen sitting in front of a table, on top of which sat a device that resembled a foldable smartphone.
The photo, released by the North’s state Korean Central News Agency, fanned speculation that the device appearing to belong to the North Korean leader may be made by Samsung or Huawei.