Rare glimpse inside residence where Kim met Lavrov

Produced by Euan McKirdy and Sarah Tilotta

Updated 1354 GMT (2154 HKT) June 4, 2018

An exterior view of a residence where Kim Jong Un met Sergey Lavrov last week.

Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

Images published in Russian state media by photographer Valeriy Sharifulin give a rare glimpse inside one of the North Korean regime's luxury properties in the capital, Pyongyang.

The photos include shots of members of North Korea's political elite and were reportedly taken when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during an official visit on May 31.

The images show a brightly lit, expansive property, which is quite austerely decorated but features artwork, expensive-looking carpets and marble pillars.

Captions written by Sharifulin suggest that it is part of the Kumsusan Palace — which is also the mausoleum of the former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

The property, named the Pavilion of 100 Flowers in a Facebook post by the photographer, has been described in international media as both one of Kim's residences — he is understood to have several — and a guest house for VIP visitors. CNN was unable to verify those reports, and Sharifulin did not respond to CNN's calls for comment.

In the Facebook post, Sharifulin, whose profile states he is chief photographer for Russian state media outlet TASS, wrote effusively: "He exists! It must be said that Kim Jong Un makes a very pleasant impression. He has the looks and manner of speaking (of) a very intelligent person."

"It is worth noting that he conducted negotiations with our substantial delegation alone and without supporting materials, which indicates confidence in decision making.

"And if with his own (people) he's a strict boss, then with Sergey Viktorovich (Lavrov)… well, you see for yourself. Also worth noting is the politeness of the Korean leader's loyal security service, something which cannot be said of his photographers and videographers — who, to put it mildly, were pretty jealous of me."

It was unclear what, if any, restrictions Sharifulin was working under. North Korea carefully controls the media and images that come out of the country.

Original Article




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