Journalists noted that most of what is known about Kim’s train comes from intelligence reports, recollections of officials who were allowed to travel aboard it in previous eras, and rare footage from North Korea’s state media.
According to the NYT, when foreign intelligence officials look for evidence that the North Korean leader is leaving the country, they always look for the location of a train “painted a dull green.”
One such train was spotted on September 12, heading towards Vladivostok, where the Russian dictator is based. Vladimir Putin. North Korean state media confirmed that Kim had indeed left Pyongyang.
According to the NYT, Kim’s green train is a special bulletproof train that the North Korean dictator, as well as his father and grandfather who led the DPRK before him, traveled on to China, Russia or the former Soviet Union.
“Family members lack confidence that they can make safe long-distance travel on one of the decrepit fleet of old Soviet-era passenger planes,” the material said.
Citing a 2009 South Korean report based on classified information, the NYT said Kim had “at least 90 high-security train cars” at his disposal. According to a report written during the time of Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, three trains run each time the leader travels: a forward guard train, a leader train and a third carrying additional bodyguards.
Each of the carriages is reportedly bulletproof, making them thousands of tons heavier than the average and resulting in slow travel. It is estimated that these trains can reach a maximum speed of only 60 km/h.
During Kim Jong Il’s time, 100 security officers traveled on the front train, searching stations for bombs and other threats and checking the safety of the tracks, according to a 2009 report. In addition, for greater security, the train was accompanied by military helicopters and aircraft.
According to the report, 20 train stations have been built throughout North Korea for the leader’s personal use only.
In the NYT article, journalists recalled how during Kim’s first state visit to China in 2018, he met a high-ranking Chinese official who boarded his train in a carriage filled with pink sofas.
And in 2015, Kim Jong-un was seen sitting at a long white table in a conference room. A similar video from 2011 showed his father, Kim Jong Il, conducting a court hearing in the same compartment. The older video clearly shows a flat-screen TV, while the more recent video shows a laptop computer.
75-year-old former Russian official Konstantin Pulikovsky, who traveled with the ex-leader of the DPRK in Russia in 2011, said that on this train you could order any dish of Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and French cuisine.
The North Korean leader insisted that live lobsters and other fresh delicacies be carried on the train as it crossed Siberia, and that boxes of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines be flown in from Paris, Pulikovsky said.
“When Kim was bored, he enlisted the help of a group of female performers, known as conductors, who serenaded him in Korean and Russian,” the NYT report said.
According to media reports, the current leader of North Korea prefers Swiss cheese, Cristal champagne and Hennessy cognac.
- On September 11, the NYT reported that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un left on his armored train in the direction of Russia, where he will most likely hold negotiations with his “colleague” Putin.
- Bloomberg edition writesthat Kim’s first trip outside North Korea in four years will be dedicated to the supply of ammunition to Russia.
- According to military analysts, such a transfer is unlikely to significantly change the course of hostilities, Reuters reports.
Read also: GUR: Putin will ask Kim for weapons, there is no reason to think that all his whims will be fulfilled
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