Train possibly taking Kim to summit enters China

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's armoured train arrived in China late on Saturday (Feb 23) ahead of his highly anticipated second summit with US President Donald Trump in Vietnam, according to media reports.

Kim left the North Korean capital of Pyongyang at around 5 p.m. (0800 GMT) in an armored train, Russia's TASS news agency said, citing a North Korean diplomatic source.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Kim will pay an official goodwill visit to Vietnam "in the coming days" in response to the invitation of President Nguyen Phu Trong, who is also the general secretary of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam.

He is expected to arrive in Vietnam on February 25. Kim will travel at least two-and-a-half days by train through China.

North Korea's state media has yet to confirm either Kim's trip to Vietnam or his summit with Trump.

In his upcoming meeting with Trump, experts say Kim will seek a US commitment for improved bilateral relations and partial sanctions relief while trying to minimize any concessions on his nuclear facilities and weapons.

Security was tight before the train's arrival in China, with police cordoning off the riverfront about 100 metres from the bridge with tape and metal barriers.


Kim would then have another, long train ride south to Vietnam. While North Korea has repeatedly demanded that the United States take corresponding measures, including sanctions relief, Washington has called for more concrete steps from Pyongyang toward denuclearization. China has declined to answer questions about Kim's travel plans via the country.

Trump and Kim met in June in Singapore, producing a vaguely worded agreement on denuclearisation, but progress has since stalled, with the two sides disagreeing over what the agreement meant.

On Feb. 26, Vietnam will ban traffic on the road Kim is expected to take to Hanoi from a station on the Chinese border, state media said.

The engine and carriages appeared similar, possibly identical, to the train Kim used the previous year to travel to the Chinese capital for his first overseas visit.

Rail travel is a family tradition that was started by Kim's grandfather, the North's founder Kim Il Sung.

Hanoi has been gearing up for the summit with beefed-up security.

The preferred location for the summit is the Government Guesthouse, a colonial-era building in central Hanoi, three sources told Reuters on Wednesday.


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