What We Know About Kim Jong-un’s Bulletproof Train

What We Know About Kim Jong-un’s Bulletproof Practice

When outdoors intelligence officers search proof of North Korea’s chief, Kim Jong-un, leaving on a visit overseas — like his journey to Russia this week to satisfy with President Vladimir V. Putin — they all the time search for the whereabouts of a practice painted a colorless inexperienced.

One such practice was noticed on Monday heading north, close to the place the borders of North Korea, Russia and China meet. It was shifting within the course of Vladivostok, the place Mr. Putin is attending an financial discussion board. On Tuesday, North Korean state media confirmed that Mr. Kim had certainly left Pyongyang, the North’s capital, for Russia by practice.

The inexperienced practice officers search for is the particular bulletproof one which Mr. Kim — and his father and grandfather, who dominated North Korea earlier than him — have used to go to China, Russia or the previous Soviet Union. Relations had been mentioned to lack confidence that they might make a secure long-distance journey utilizing one in all their nation’s decrepit fleet of previous Soviet-era passenger jets.

Whereas a lot about Mr. Kim’s newest journey stays a thriller, here’s what we all know concerning the practice:

A lot of what’s identified concerning the practice comes from intelligence studies, recollections of officers permitted to journey on board in earlier eras and uncommon state information media footage.

There are believed to be at the very least 90 high-security carriages on the chief’s disposal, based on a 2009 South Korea information report that relied on labeled info. In line with the report, written throughout the period of Mr. Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, three trains function every time the chief travels: an advance safety practice, the chief’s practice and a 3rd carrying extra bodyguards and provides.

Every of the carriages is bulletproof, making them hundreds of kilos heavier than common. That extra weight interprets to a sluggish experience. The trains are estimated to succeed in a most pace of simply 37 miles per hour.

In Kim Jong-il’s time, based on the 2009 report, 100 safety officers traveled within the advance practice, looking stations for bombs and different threats and testing the security of the monitor. Moreover, navy helicopters and airplanes would fly overhead to offer extra safety.

Twenty practice stations have been constructed throughout North Korea only for the chief’s private use, based on the report.

North Korea’s state information media sometimes coated the leaders from contained in the practice, providing a uncommon glimpse at a number of the many specialised automobiles.

When Kim Jong-un made his first state go to to China in 2018, he met a senior Chinese language official who boarded his practice in a carriage lined with thick pink sofas.

In 2015, Kim Jong-un was seen seated at a protracted white desk in what gave the impression to be a convention room. In the same video from 2011, his father, Kim Jong-il, is seen holding courtroom in the identical compartment. Within the older video, a flat-screen tv is clearly seen, and within the more moderen one, a laptop computer laptop might be seen.

In footage of the elder Mr. Kim’s journeys, the chief is seen in an viewers automobile with plush seats; main a gathering in a eating automobile; and attending a banquet in a automobile paneled in darkish wooden. In that footage, Mr. Kim is seated at a desk crammed with meals as entertainers carry out in tuxedos and night robes.

The previous chief’s workplace automobile, together with a desk and laptop, is preserved as a museum exhibit on the Kumsusan Palace of the Solar, Kim Jong-il’s mausoleum in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.

Kim Jong-il was rumored to have had a worry of flying and most popular to journey on his practice, which was outfitted with trendy communications expertise and a big employees that catered to his whims.

“It was attainable to order any dish of Russian, Chinese language, Korean, Japanese and French delicacies,” wrote Konstantin Pulikovsky, a Russian official who traveled with the previous chief throughout a 2011 journey by Russia.

Mr. Kim insisted that reside lobster and different contemporary delicacies be delivered to the practice because it crossed Siberia on journeys to Russia. Circumstances of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines had been flown in from Paris, Mr. Pulikovsky recounted in his memoir of the journey, “Orient Categorical.”

When bored, Mr. Kim relied on a bunch of feminine entertainers often known as woman conductors to serenade him in Korean and Russian.

It’s unknown what his son, Kim Jong-un, does for nourishment and leisure whereas on board, however the youthful Mr. Kim’s urge for food is understood to rival his father’s. He reportedly prefers Swiss cheese, Cristal Champagne and Hennessy cognac.

The practice has been on the middle of a number of tragic occasions in trendy North Korean historical past.

Greater than 160 individuals had been killed in Ryongchon, close to the Chinese language border, in April 2004, when trains laden with flamable materials exploded due to a collision or {an electrical} malfunction.

There have been preliminary rumors that the explosion was a part of an try on Kim Jong-il’s life as a result of the chief’s practice had handed by the city hours earlier.

In line with the state information media, he would later die aboard his practice after a coronary heart assault in December 2011.

After he turned chief, Kim Jong-un visited China 4 occasions and Vietnam as soon as — all by practice. He additionally visited Russia by practice and met Mr. Putin in 2019.

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