Culture

Kim Jong-Un May Have Left North Korea For The First Time Since 2011 On A ‘Mystery Train’ To China

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s an unusual chap, but his recent behavior has deviated from his usual insular ways. He’s made strides toward diplomacy while meeting with South Korean officials, he’s agreed to meet with President Trump by May, and he also wants a peace treaty. Now, the speculation mill is abuzz after a telltale green “mystery train” with yellow stripes — visible in the above video from The Guardian — has arrived in Beijing, China.

CNN reports that there’s a “strong possibility” that the Kim-family train, which carried Kim Jong-un out of his country in 2011 (the last time he left North Korea since his father’s death), has reportedly taken him on a “whirlwind” trip to China, although a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry claimed to have “no idea” what was going on. What would Kim Jong-un be planning to do on his visit? A Chinese expert on North Korea, Tong Zhao, believes that Kim is looking to recruit Chinese support ahead of his meeting with Trump:

“North Korea wants to have some insurance against this upcoming summit meeting with President Trump … the meeting is very important but also very risky. If the meeting fails, the US could declare that diplomacy has failed and shift to a more coercive approach or even a military strike.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times has some fascinating details about this slow-moving train (made up of 21 bulletproof cars), as previously relayed by a Russian official who traveled on the train with former leader Kim Jong-Il:

Mr. Kim insisted that live lobster and other fresh delicacies be delivered to the train as it crossed Siberia on trips to Russia. Cases of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines were flown in from Paris, Mr. Pulikovsky recounted in his memoir of the trip, “Orient Express.” When bored, Mr. Kim relied on a group of female entertainers known as lady conductors to serenade him in Korean and Russian.

The train is said to have a number of international cuisine dishes available, and although no one’s sure if Kim Jong-un is able to maintain the same sort of luxury due to U.S. and U.N.-leveled sanctions, it’s safe to say that he’s doing alright. Selling chemical weapons and electricity (to Syria and China, respectively) happens to be reliable source of income for the North Korean regime, even as its people do without.

(Via The Guardian, New York Times & CNN)

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