Published: Tue, March 27, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Kim Jong-un in Beijing after taking 'mystery train', say reports

Kim Jong-un in Beijing after taking 'mystery train', say reports

An armoured train has arrived in Beijing from North Korea, and Kim Jong-un might be on board. It would be the first foreign visit by Kim Jong Un since he ascended to the leadership of the Hermit Kingdom in 2011.

The news also accompanied reports of increasing Chinese government censorship of reports on the mystery visitor, and of an unconfirmed convoy of official vehicles seen in central Beijing.

Earlier this month Trump chose to meet the North Korean Leader after Kim talked about giving up nuclear weapons. Others say that Kim is genuinely afraid of a preemptive strike by the USA, a prospect that has grown more menacing after the appointment of two more hawks to Trump's inner circle: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.

"The North Korean Chinese relationship has not been very good in recent years, particularly over China's acceptance of global sanctions and degree of implementing thecm", said James Hoare, an associate fellow at Chatham House and former United Kingdom diplomat in North Korea. "We are carefully watching the situation. with all possibilities in mind."Earlier in March, North Korea's foreign minister attended talks in Stockholm with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, ahead of the as yet unarranged meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Kim".

In a Beijing covered this Tuesday by a thick layer of pollution, main clues on presence of a high Korean personality were given exceptional deployment of police in streets, only comparable to days of most important appointments Policies.

China has repeatedly emphasized that it supports a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, and has suggested a freeze-for-freeze solution to the current crisis, whereby the US and South Korea suspend joint military drills in return for North Korea suspending weapons testing. "If the meeting fails the United States could declare that diplomacy has failed and shift to a more coercive approach or even a military strike".

Hua Chunying, China's foreign ministry spokesman, said he has no idea who was on the train or in the motorcade.

Some analysts had suggested China - the North's only major ally - had been sidelined by the overtures from Pyongyang to Seoul and Washington, but a visit by Kim would put Beijing firmly back at the centre of the diplomatic equation. South Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo wrote this month that Kim wants to sign a peace treaty and establish diplomatic relations with the U.S.

Beijing's citizens were left guessing just what was happening in the capital amid a spate of road closures and tight security measures as official outlets remained tight-lipped for hours about the persistent rumours that Kim Jong-un was in town.

"Numerous other senior officials could and would have taken a private plane, possibly departing without any fanfare in Pyongyang and arranging to establish an unobtrusive arrival with the Chinese authorities", Madden said. "He looks a lot more wild than his father or grandfather [former regime leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il], but I have seen him grow as a politician since his inauguration".

Chinese netizens looking for answers hit a wall: On Tuesday, three of the top 10 blocked terms on Weibo, a microblogging site, were "Kim Jong Un, " "North Korea" and "Fatty the third, " a popular Chinese nickname for Kim, according to, a website that tracks censorship.

If confirmed, it would mark Kim's first trip overseas since coming to power in 2011 and signal an intriguing twist in a rapid diplomatic thaw that has opened the door to separate summits between Kim and the presidents of South Korea and the United States.

However, spokesman Raj Shah reiterated Mr Trump's plans to meet with Kim, saying the US-led worldwide pressure campaign against Pyongyang "has paid dividends and has brought the North Koreans to the table". "We don't know if they're necessarily true", White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in a news briefing.

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