China visit: Kim Jong-un travelled on a special train his father used

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Kim Jong-Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervises a flight drill of the KPA Air and Anti-Air Force Unit 2620, honored with the Title of O Jung Hup-led 7th Regiment, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) March 7, 2014. Reuters/KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly rode an armoured train used exclusively by the ruling Kim family for his visit to China. The deep green train’s arrival in Beijing had generated speculations about a possible visit by a high-ranking North Korean official before Kim’s first known trip outside of North Korea since taking power upon his father’s death.

Japan’s Kyodo News previously reported that a special train may have transported the North Korean leader through the north-eastern border city of Dandong. Footage of the train arriving in Beijing on Monday was shown on Nippon TV.

Kim’s visit has been confirmed by China and North Korea. According to China's Xinhua news agency, the visit to Beijing led to "successful talks" with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. China is known as North Korea's economic ally.

The visit is seen as an important step in North Korea's preparation for proposed talks. It was reportedly a chance for Kim to assure Xi that he is committed to giving up his nuclear weapons with conditions.

"The issue of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realisation of peace," Kim reportedly said.

Deep green train in Beijing

The ABC reports that Kim travelled to China on a train that his father Kim Jong-il, who famously hated flying, had used. An account published by a Russian official in 2002 stated that the train carried cases of Bordeaux and Beaujolais wine from Paris and that passengers could feast on barbecued pork and live lobster.

Kim Jong-il made about a dozen trips abroad by train, mostly to China. His very first trip abroad on the train as leader reportedly happened in 2000.

Security is seen as the most significant feature of the heavily armoured train. South Korean reports state that North Korea has 90 special train carriages and operates three trains in tandem when a leader is travelling.

There is said to be an advanced train, a train that carries the leader and his entourage, and a third train following behind. The North Korean leader can give orders and receive news and briefings through advanced communications and flat-screen TVs.

Kim will meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April. He will also meet US President Donald Trump in May.

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