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Have train, will travel: N Korea's Kim back on track

AFP  |  Seoul 

The olive green North Korean train, emblazoned with a yellow stripe, trundling towards station Tuesday was the Un and his entourage had arrived in the Chinese capital.

The engine and carriages appear similar, possibly identical, to the train Kim used in March 2018 to travel to for his first overseas visit.

Unlike that occasion, when the North's waited until his return to announce his journey, the official agency said Tuesday that he was travelling on board his "private train".

Kim's father and predecessor Il, who is said to have had a fear of flying, stuck to the rails for his own foreign travels, using high-security trains for his seven visits to and three to over his 1994-2011 term.

According to the official North Korean account, Il was on a train for a "field guidance" visit in 2011 when he died of a heart attack.

The Kims reportedly have several almost identical special trains, made by a factory in

They are typically composed of two engines and 17 to 21 cars, travel at no more than 60 kilometres per hour, and are said to carry armoured vehicles and small helicopters for emergencies.

The carriages used by -- a computer on his desk -- and his own father and predecessor, the North's founder Kim Il Sung, are now on display at the in Pyongyang, where both late leaders' bodies lie in state.

But the current North Korean leader shows no sign of an aversion to taking to the air. Kim flew to in May and in June for his second and third meetings with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and to -- on board a borrowed Chinese airliner -- for his June summit with US

He is also known to travel by air domestically, and was even seen at the controls of an aircraft in video footage released by in 2014.

"Our dear always says it is his profound wish to fly with his soldiers," the says.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 14:05 IST