North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has arrived in Russia, after travelling from Pyongyang on his luxury armoured train for a summit with President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok. The trip marks Kim’s first visit abroad in more than four years and the first since the Covid-19 pandemic, the Guardian reported.
According to a BBC report, Kim spent 20 hours travelling 1,180km (733 miles) on the slow-moving green-and-yellow train, in accordance with a long-standing tradition followed by North Korean leaders. When it comes to international trips, he is well-known for his preference for train travel.
The train’s heavy armoured protection makes it rattle at a speed of about 50km/h (31mph) which is much slower than most modern trains.
The mysterious dark green train which has 90 carriages also features tinted windows to obscure the identities of those on board the machine. Each carriage is completely bulletproof, making the train thousands of pounds heavier.
It also has a restaurant that carries expensive French wine and passengers could feast on live lobster and pork barbeque. Apart from that, the train has conference rooms, audience chambers, and bedrooms, with satellite phones and flat-screen televisions installed for briefings.
Tradition of long-distance travel via train
Kim Jong Un’s grandfather Kim Il Sung was the one who started the tradition of long-distance travel via train after he started going on train trips to Vietnam and Eastern Europe. Notably, the leader’s father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il, was famously scared of flying. He once took 10 days to get to Moscow in 2001 to hold a meeting with Mr Putin.
Security agents heavily guard these luxurious trains and scan the routes and stations ahead for bombs and other threats.
Kim Jong Un, the current leader of North Korea, has continued the family tradition and believes the armoured train provides more security and luxury than a flight.
According to anNPR report, he traveled around 4,500 kilometers through China in his train to reach Vietnam to meet President Donald Trump. The journey took two-and-a-half days.
Russian military commander Konstantin Pulikovsky also talked of the train’s opulence, boasting how it was possible to order ”any dish of Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and French cuisine” aboard the train.
Even Mr. Putin’s private train “did not have the comfort of Kim Jong Il’s train,” Mr. Pulikovsky noted.
Experts suggest the Russian president is seeking artillery shells and antitank missiles from North Korea for Moscow’s war in Ukraine, while Kim is reportedly in search of advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines, as well as food aid for his impoverished nation.
He is accompanied by unspecified members of the country’s ruling party, government, and military.