The signature train belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been spotted on satellite images parked at a station on the nation’s eastern coast since last week, according to a U.S. monitor, as questions swirl over the dictator’s health.
On Sunday, a key aide to the president of South Korea insisted Kim, who is believed to be 36, was “alive and well.” Chung-in Moon, foreign policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, told Fox News, “Our government position is firm. Kim Jong Un is alive and well. He has been staying in the Wonsan area since April 13. No suspicious movements have so far been detected.”
Satellite photos released on Saturday echo South Korean government intelligence that Kim is staying outside of the capital, Pyongyang. The photos released by 38 North, a Washington-based website specializing in North Korea studies, show that activity has increased in the resort town of Wonsan in April.
Kim Jong Un’s train has been parked at the Leadership Railway Station servicing his Wonsan compound since at least April 21, the website 38 North said Saturday, citing an analysis of recent satellite photos of the area. The railway station in Wonsan is reserved for use by the Kim family.
Kim’s preferred travel method is by train — like his late father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung. Kim’s father loathed flying and made all his trips abroad by rail.
The present North Korean leader has taken his distinct armored green and yellow train to recent summits in Russia and Vietnam. Kim is known for traveling with a big entourage — possibly more than 200 people — and lots of supplies. The train cars are reportedly bulletproof, making them heavier than normal carriages — and much slower when traveling, according to a 2009 report by Chosun Ilbo. It travels an average speed of 37 mph.
The train, originally owned by Kim’s father, appears to provide a lot of comfort for the North Korean leaders. According to Konstantin Pulikovsky, a Russian official who accompanied Kim Jong ll on a three-week trip to Moscow in 2001, its 90 carriages are said to contain bedrooms, conference rooms and a chamber equipped with satellite phones and flat-screen televisions, as well as cases of Bordeaux and Beaujolais wine.