August 30, 2010 10:52
Intelligence agents and journalists who had been tracking North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in China were bewildered on Saturday night when his official train vanished from sight.
The train was last spotted leaving Changchun Railway Station at around 9:15 p.m. on Saturday, prompting observers to conclude that he was heading back to North Korea. But on Sunday afternoon it was nowhere to be seen at the Chinese border. Instead, it is believed to have arrived in Harbin late Sunday afternoon.
During his visit to China in May, the North Korean leader boldly appeared before the cameras, but not this time, and observers are wondering whether North Korea used some sort of trick to prevent Kim's route from being exposed.
On previous trips, Kim threw reporters off the scent by parking his special train in one spot and then switching to a car to travel to another location. The prime objective of the secrecy is apparently to ensure Kim's safety. In 2004, a massive blast occurred in Yongchon Station just after Kim's train passed through. The North apparently protested to Chinese authorities during Kim's visit to China in January 2006 when a South Korean photographer managed to take his picture.
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