Kim Jong Un Takes Mystery, High Security Train To Beijing For Surprise Visit
25 March, 2018
Kim Jong Un has made an unexpected visit to Beijing in his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power seven years ago, according to unconfirmed media reports.
It would "make perfect sense" for Kim to travel to Beijing "using father's armored train," tweeted O'Carrol, who said the rout was well-tested by North Korean security and that the blackout on state media covering the trip was consistent with trips his father, Kim Jong Il, made to Beijing.
While the Trump administration greeted the offer cautiously, expressing both hope that talks can happen and skepticism at Kim’s sincerity, Trump "appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization."
Prior to meeting with Trump, Kim was expected to first meet with South Korea's President, Moon Jae-in, near their shared border. As Bloomberg notes, Ties between China and North Korea -- neighbors and allies during the Cold War -- have been strained as China backed progressive rounds of United Nations sanctions against the country’s weapons program. Business Insider's Alex Lockie asks the question: Did Trump make this happen?
Sun said that China has attempted to meet with Kim in the past, but rising tensions as North Korea's nuclear testing heated up derailed the preparations and deteriorated bilateral relations. Previously, China saw Kim as defiant and abusing Beijing's support for the country, and denied them "the honor, the validation, of having a meeting" with Xi.
"The only variable has changed," in the Pyongyang-Beijing relationship, according to Sun, is that Trump accepted a face-to-face meeting with Kim, which she said may have "motivated the Chinese to change their mind."
Also, North Korea may not be able to handle a summit with Trump on their own, and China has a good deal of anxiety about being left out of diplomatic efforts between Pyongyang and its adversaries, according to Sun.
In any case, the train's journey to Beijing fits the profile of Kim family visits to China's rulers in the past, and makes sense from both the Chinese and North Korean sides in the run up to attempting diplomacy with Trump face-to-face. -Business Insider