Kim Jong Un has made a surprise visit to Beijing on his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011, three people with knowledge of the visit told Bloomberg News.
Further details of the visit, including how long Kim would stay and who he would meet, were not immediately available. The people asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information.
A special train may have carried Kim through the northeastern Chinese border city of Dandong under heavy security, Japan’s Kyodo News reported earlier. Nippon TV showed footage of a green and yellow train arriving today in Beijing that looked similar to one used by Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, to visit the Chinese capital shortly before his death in 2011.
The unannounced move follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision this month to grant an unprecedented meeting to Kim, after South Korean officials said Kim was willing to discuss giving up his nuclear weapons program. Diplomats from the U.S., North Korea and its neighbors have since been shuttling across the globe to prepare for the summit.
There has been no word of Kim planning a summit with Beijing. China has been one of North Korea’s most important allies, but relations have grown chilly because of Kim’s development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
Heavy security was reported at the Friendship Bridge before the train passed from North Korea to China, and there were reports of it passing through several stations on the way from North Korea to Beijing.
A video that aired on NTV also showed a motorcade of black limousines waiting at the train station and rows of Chinese soldiers marching on what appeared to be a train platform. The video did not show anyone getting off the train.
[Bloomberg News & Associated Press]