Kim Jong-un Reaches Russia in 'Luxury Fortress on Rails'

      September 13, 2023 12:25

      The armored train that took North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to Russia is a "fortress on rails."
      North Korea's state media showed the interior of the train in October of last year, where Kim was seen in a workspace equipped with a laptop, monitor and telephone. Footage shot during Kim's visit to China in 2018 showed the interior of another part of the train with carpeted floors, strawberry-pink leatherette armchairs and a big screen.
      When Kim's father Kim Jong-il visited Russia in 2001, Russian military commander and politician Konstantin Pulikovsky accompanied Kim on the train for three weeks along with 50 Russian snipers dispatched to guard the North Korean leader.
      In his 2002 book "Orient Express" Pulikovsky recalled sleeping quarters, a conference room, a well-stocked pantry and two Mercedes-Benz sedans. He added that Kim's train was far more comfortable than Russian President Vladimir Putin's.
      North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves from his armored train as he leaves Pyongyang, in this photo released by the Rodong Sinmun on Tuesday.
      The train has satellite communication equipment and an electronic map showing its location along with geographical information on the region it is passing, down to the number of cattle.
      The train is commonly believed to be bullet-proof, but only the North Korean leader's section is armored. A South Korean government official said, "If the entire train was bullet-proof, it would be too heavy to move."
      It already travels at a very slow speed due to its weight and the poor conditions of railways in both North Korea and Russia, but Kim clearly feels that is safer than trusting his fate to an airplane.
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