Kim Jong-un Not Scared of Flying

A photo showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stepping off of an airplane appears to be aimed at showing he does not share his father Kim Jong-il's neurotic fear of flying.

The plane the younger Kim was pictured disembarking at Samjiyon Airport at Ryanggang Province last Tuesday was a Soviet IL-62, which stopped being manufactured in 1993. The aircraft belongs to North Korea's Air Koryo airline and was rejected entry in China last year due to safety concerns.

Kim appears to have used the plane to save time traveling around North Korea, but he is apparently also keen to stress a new economic era for the North.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un steps off of a plane at Samjiyon Airport in Ryanggang Province last Tuesday. /Rodong Sinmun North Korean leader Kim Jong-un steps off of a plane at Samjiyon Airport in Ryanggang Province last Tuesday. /Rodong Sinmun

His father preferred traveling aboard his personal armored train.

Experts said the North Korean leader is upset by the frequent foreign visits made by President Park Geun-hye and wanted to show off his own travel itinerary as well.

Park met Chinese President Xi Jinping four times during her first year in office, but Kim, who has been in power for three years, has yet to travel abroad. The photo also sends a message that Kim could fly to Beijing if he makes an official visit since the Chinese complained of the inconvenience posed by Kim Jong-il's penchant for rail travel.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 11, 2014 08:26 KST