December 22, 2011 11:53
Military officials on Wednesday said they concur after all with the view of the National Intelligence Service that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's armored train never left Pyongyang's main train station on Saturday, when he is believed to have died. The military previously said the train did leave the station, confirming the official North Korean account that Kim died on his train en route to one of his on-the-spot guidance tours.
But when the press picked up on the discrepancy, the military apparently changed its mind. Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said, "There is only one source who is shared by [South] Korea and the U.S. and the military and NIS. The military and NIS share necessary information and meet every day so there can be no differences in views."
A military source said, "The NIS and military intelligence appear to have taken different views in the initial stage of analyzing satellite photos of Kim's train at Yongsong Station in Pyongyang." The source said there are three trains that were believed to be for Kim Jong-il's official use. Two move at the same time in order to prevent terror attacks, while the third one serves as back-up. The source added, "To my knowledge, the whereabouts of one of the three trains was unclear between Friday and Sunday. While the NIS placed more weight on those that were spotted, military intelligence did not rule out that the one that was not accounted for may have been moving, leading to the discrepancy."
But since then the military and NIS have tentatively concluded that none of the trains moved. "Maybe the military and NIS formed different opinions in the course of analyzing data," a government official said. "And when media reports made the difference of opinion appear to be a conflict, the military seems to have decided to clarify the matter."
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