First pictures have emerged The ‘love train’ used by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to meet his Chinese counterpart.
The distinctive green and yellow armoured train that pulled into Beijing on Monday is the same one used by his father Kim Jong-il in May 2000 when he too travelled to Beijing to visit Jiang Zemin, China’s leader at the time.
According to a 2009 report in the South Korean press, the train at the time consisted of about 90 armoured carriages, with two separate trains travelling ahead and behind it to handle security.
The distinctive green and yellow armoured train that pulled into Beijing on Monday may be slow but it is not without its luxurious fittings inside
The North Korean leader was treated to a lavish welcome by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his secretive trip to Beijing as both sides seek to repair frayed ties ahead of landmark summits between Seoul and Washington
The pink leather chairs inside the train contrast with its green and yellow exterior
It is not clear whether the North Korean leader treated his distinguished Chinese guest to some of the luxurious food and drink reputed to be on the train
Because of its weight, it moves slowly – its average speed is reported to be 37 mph – but inside, it is relatively high-tech and luxurious.
The train is reported to come complete with luxurious seating, dark wood panelling and plentiful supplies of alcohol.
According to an account by Konstantin Pulikovsky, a Russian official who travelled with Kim Jong-il to Moscow in 2001, the train was stacked with cases of Bordeaux and Beaujolais, which had been flown in from Paris especially.
One Russian official who travelled with Kim Jong-il on the train to Moscow in 2001 said that live lobster and other delicacies were regularly sent to the train as it travelled, the Washington Post reported.
The visit by Kim Jong-un to meet Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping (right) bears striking similarities to a visit made by his father Kim Jong-il to meet Chinese President Jiang Zemin in June 2000 (left)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (centre) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (centre right) are greeted by Chinese Communist Party members on the arrival at Beijing station in Beijing
Speculation about a visit to Beijing by Kim Jong-un or another high-level Pyongyang official was running high Tuesday amid talk of preparations for a meeting between the North’s reclusive leader and President Donald Trump
The North Korean leader arrived in Beijing for talks with his Chinese counterpart amid a shroud of secrecy
The North Korean leader was able to sample some Chinese wine in addition to what was available to him on the train
Kim Jong-un has used the train to travel domestically: In video from 2015, he was shown sitting in a stark white conference room on board with a laptop in the background.
It is difficult to know how – if at all – the train has changed from the days of Kim Jong-Il but the likelihood is that it would not be short of food or drink. The older Kim was reputed to enjoy on board banquets and karaoke.
It is often been reported that that the Swiss-educated Kim Jong-un has inherited his father’s fondness of the finer things in life, especially Swiss cheese, Cristal champagne and Hennessy cognac.
But while Kim Jong-il was rumoured to hate flying and used the train as an alternative means of travel to China, Russia and Eastern Europe his son is not so squeamish and often travelled abroad by air while getting educated in the West.
In any event, the similarities between the trip in 2000 and Kim Jong-un’s 2018 excursion are hard to miss, The Washington Post has reported.
In both cases, the Kims visited for three days; in both cases, they arrived unannounced on a train; in both cases, they met with the Chinese president and toured Beijing’s technology hub in Zhongguancun; and in both cases, their visit to China took place ahead of a planned summit with South Korea.
The secrecy surrounding Kim Jong-un’s visit to Beijing this week also echoed that of his father’s various trips abroad, with state media announcing the visit only after it was over, presumably for security reasons.