September 12, 2023 09:34
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has boarded an armored train to Russia to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although the exact itinerary was not revealed, the two leaders are widely expected to meet in Vladivostok on Tuesday or Wednesday.
A senior South Korean government official said, "A train carrying Kim Jong-un left Pyongyang on Sunday afternoon and is heading toward the northeast border. It appears to be traveling very slowly" and is moving at night in order to avoid detection.
Vladivostok is located some 1,200 km away from Pyongyang, so it takes more than 20 hours to get there at a speed of less than 60 km/h and Kim is expected to arrive in Vladivostok on Tuesday morning.
Japanese broadcaster JNN reported that workers at Khasan Railway Station could be spotted applying green paint to the interior of the station. Kim arrived at the same train station when he visited Vladivostok to meet Putin in 2019.
A group of people wearing North Korean badges were spotted checking the train station on Sunday and a red carpet was spread there the previous day.
If North Korea and Russia trade weapons as a result of the summit, the U.S. and its allies are expected to step up their responses through strengthened sanctions against both countries.
In the U.S., White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said, "As we have warned publicly, arms discussions between Russia and [North Korea] are expected to continue during Kim Jong-un's trip. We urge [North Korea] to abide by the public commitments that Pyongyang has made to not provide or sell arms to Russia."
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