KIM Jong-un has nearly blown the entire "slush fund" he inherited from his dad on nuclear tests, it has been claimed.
According to The Sun, the chubby dictator no longer has enough to run his secretive kingdom. The nation's participation in the Winter Olympic Games is said to be part of a bid to boost its economy, sources allege.
Trigger happy Kim has staged a series of pricey nuke trials since taking over as leader after the death of his father Kim Jong-il in 2011.
But sources in China with close links to Pyongyang's elite say the funds the 34-year-old inherited have all but gone up in smoke, reports Radio Free Asia.
One source said: "Due to Kim Jong Un's extravagant spending, the slush fund from his father, Kim Jong Il, is running out.
"We can speculate that he spent a lot of money from the number of missile (and nuclear weapons) tests he carried out.
"Most of the funding for nuclear weapon and missile development is coming from Kim Jong Un's slush fund."
The source said Kim has also lavished cash on works including the Ryomyong Street development in Pyongyang and the Masikryong Ski Resort.
International sanctions clamping down on North Koreans working abroad may also have had an impact, denting the estimated $500 million funnelled into the reclusive regime from 100,000 nationals employed overseas, the source said.
North Korea is stricken with poverty with millions of its citizens on the verge of starvation.
Farmers in the countryside have been seen stealing human excrement to fertilise their fields as a result of crippling soil rations which has caused parasites to infect large parts of the population.
The country's GDP is thought to be 1/28th of its southern neighbours meaning it faces chronic food and medical shortages.
Kim's penchant for blowing wads of cash on nuke tests is simply compounding those already underlying problems, sources have claimed.
A second Chinese source claimed Pyongyang aims to ease its financial woes by participating in its neighbour South Korea's Winter Olympic Games starting on February 9.
The hope is that it will prompt charity from Seoul - in a similar policies from the 1990s and 2000s in which South Korea offered subsidies to the North in exchange for peaceful relations.
He said: "There will be a warming of relations during the Pyongchang Olympics, but if South Korea's response fails to satisfy Pyongyang, it will ultimately strain North-South ties."
This article first appeared in The Sun and is republished with permission.