Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

North Korea train ‘carrying Kim Jong-un’ makes secret trip to China

North Korea train ‘carrying Kim Jong-un’ makes secret trip to China

The North's official Korean Central News Agency also confirmed the visit, saying that Kim had left for China on a private train on Monday afternoon accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, and other senior North Korean officials, including Kim Yong Chol and Ri Yong Ho.

Kim previously met with Xi in 2018 on three different occasions, which took place before and after the historic meetings with US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae In.

Plans for a second summit between President Trump and Kim have yet to be publicized, but White House officials said it could happen within months - leading many to wonder if complete denuclearization is on the horizon.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is visiting China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to state media in both countries.

The State Department and the USA embassy in Seoul did not immediately respond to a query from Reuters.

The train crossed the border around 10.15pm local time and was expected in the Chinese capital Tuesday morning, the Southern news agency reported, citing an informed source.

Last week, Trump received another letter from Kim.

At their landmark June summit in Singapore, Kim and Trump pledged to work towards denuclearisation, but the pact was light on details and talks since have made little headway.

Despite starting his Presidency with explosive rhetoric against Kim, Trump has changed his tone considerably, and even went so far as to say "we fell in love" in September past year. Trump said his administration has a "very good dialogue" with Pyongyang, adding: "Now I say this, North Korea, we're doing very well".

In his New Year's speech last week, the North's leader warned that he could take a new way if the United States clings to pressure and sanctions on its regime.

In 2015, a counsellor in charge of science affairs at the North's embassy in Germany defected with his wife to an unidentified country, while a secretary-level trade official stationed in Bulgaria and his wife also fled, Thae told South Korean cable news Channel A in an interview this week.

Speculation had grown on Monday that Mr Kim was possibly making his way to China on board his armoured train.

China is North Korea's most important economic and diplomatic backer, despite anger over its neighbour's nuclear and missile programmes.

North Korea's state media described Thae as "human scum" after his defection and claimed he was trying to escape punishment for serious crimes.

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