Mysterious train in Beijing triggers Kim Jong-un visit speculations

A green and yellow train has triggered the speculation that North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un is on a day-visit to China

 Police officers keep watch next to train at Beijing railway station. (Photo: Reuters)
Police officers keep watch next to train at Beijing railway station. (Photo: Reuters)

There is widespread speculation that the senior North Korean official who made a surprise day-long visit to Beijing was the Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

A green and yellow train triggered the speculation as to whether the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un visited China.

The visit, which would be Kim’s first to China since taking power in 2011, comes before historic meetings with his counterparts in South Korea and the US, expected to take place later this year.

The train, captured by Japan’s Nippon TV, is a distinctive olive green train with yellow stripes – similar to that used by Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, when he visited China in 2011 – arrived in Beijing on Monday.

There has been no official comment from North Korea, while China's foreign ministry said it had "no information for the moment", but more would "be published in due course".

On Tuesday, a heavily guarded motorcade was seen in the centre of Beijing, while police blocked off streets around the main railway station. The green train believed to be carrying Kim left Beijing on Tuesday afternoon, according to reports.

After years of provocations and missile tests, Pyongyang has made an unexpected diplomatic effort recently. Kim is expected to meet with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, in April and to hold a summit with the US president, Donald Trump, in May.

Adam Cathcart, a lecturer in history at the University of Leeds who researches Chinese-North Korean relations, said travelling by train has been a feature of North Korean propaganda.

“The key detail does appear to be the train. If it were the foreign minister or Kim Yong-nam [North Korea’s nominal head of state] they would simply fly in from Pyongyang,” said Cathcart.

Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather and the country’s first leader after its establishment in 1948, arrived in China by train for his first visit to the country in 1982.

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