'China Tells Kim Jong-un to Take a Plane, Not a Train'

Beijing has apparently asked North Korean heir apparent Kim Jong-un to fly on his next visit to China instead of using a train like his father. Diplomatic sources on Wednesday said China feels a rail trip would make it very difficult to protect him.

China has suffered headaches closing off roads and railways due to Kim senior's bizarre habit of travelling abroad only by special armored train. The border crossing alone would attract hordes of foreign journalists and armies of flunkies, and Chinese citizens posted complaints on the Internet about the inconvenience of the traffic disruptions along the way.

Unlike his father, who is generally believed to suffer from a morbid fear of flying, Kim Jong-un is thought to be comfortable with airplanes since he went to school in Switzerland, which is out of range of the paternal conveyance. Kim senior has mounted the fire horse to China no fewer than eight times since 2000, and in 2001 he spent 21 days chuffing all the way to Moscow.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 14, 2011 12:57 KST