When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided the launch of his country’s newest and most powerful ballistic missile this week, a shiny gadget lay on his table: a foldable smartphone.
Photos released by the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Thursday showed what looked like a silver foldable handset in black leather casing, strikingly similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip devices or China’s Huawei Pocket S phones.
The photo from Wednesday’s launch of the solid-fuel Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) instantly unleashed speculation about where the phone came from.
“If the object in the photo is a foldable phone, it is highly likely that it was secretly smuggled to North Korea via China,” South Korea’s Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported.
North Korea is banned under UN sanctions from importing or exporting electronic devices.
Kim’s love for gadgets has been an object of outside curiosity in the past.
He has been pictured using what appeared to be Apple products, including iPads and Macbooks.
Only around 19 percent of the North Korean population are estimated to have access to mobile phones, according to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook.