Images released by North Korean state media KCNA show Kim boarding his private train as he prepared to travel to Russia for an expected meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, amid warnings by the United States that an arms deal could be on the table.
It’s not clear when or where this expected meeting will take place. But Russian state media reported Tuesday that Kim’s train had arrived in the country, and was currently traveling north through Russia’s far east region.
Photos of Kim’s departure from Pyongyang show a train station with a long red carpet rolled out for the leader, lined with uniformed officials and soldiers standing at attention. Several officials bow and shake Kim’s hand. In the background, women in dresses and traditional clothing can be seen cheering and waving the North Korean flag.
Among the officials photographed appear to be North Korea’s Foreign Minister Choe Sun Hui and Ri Pyong Chol, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party.
At one point, Kim and his entourage stand at the train entrance, waving to the crowd – offering a glimpse into the heavily armored, slow-moving locomotive, with polished wooden floors and an ornately decorated white doorway.
The string of dark green carriages, with yellow stripes running down the side, match the look of the train used both by his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, and his father, Kim Jong Il, who reportedly threw lavish dinners aboard.
Armored train of luxury
The train has long been the subject of intrigue, carrying generations of the Kim family across the country and on rare overseas trips.