Kim Jong Un Begins Train Journey To Hanoi For Summit With Trump

Eyewitnesses at the border between North Korea and China reported seeing an armored train crossing into Chinese territory on Saturday, four days before North Korea's Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump are set to meet in Vietnam next Wednesday and Thursday.

Kim has previously travelled in an armoured train to Beijing and, if he is on board, may stop in the Chinese capital on what could be an epic journey to Vietnam, meeting President Xi Jinping prior to his second face-to-face with the USA president.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told the US secretary of state he did not want his children to live with the burden of nuclear weapons, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer involved in high-level diplomacy over the North's weapons was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Vietnam's Foreign Ministry also announced on Saturday that Kim will pay an official goodwill visit to Vietnam "in the coming days" in response to an invitation by President Nguyen Phu Trong, who is also the general secretary of Vietnam's ruling Communist Party.

It implies Kim may take a train and disembark at the Dong Dang railway station and proceed by vehicle to Hanoi. His late father, Kim Jong Il, travelled all the way to Moscow by train in 2001.

North Korea's state media has yet to confirm either Kim's trip to Vietnam or his summit with Trump.

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Security was tight before the train's arrival in China, with police cordoning off the riverfront about 100 metres from the bridge with tape and metal barriers.

Another option for Kim would be to take the train to Beijing and catch a plane to the Vietnamese capital. China has declined to answer questions about Kim's travel plans via the country.

The engine and carriages appeared similar, possibly identical, to the train Kim used the previous year to travel to the Chinese capital for his first overseas visit. Their first summit last June in Singapore ended without substantive agreements and triggered a months-long stalemate in negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang as they struggled with the sequencing of North Korea's nuclear disarmament and the removal of USA -led sanctions against the North.

"They would have to clear the tracks, they would have to provide security for basically the entire length of the Chinese eastern seaboard", he said.

The Trump administration has pressed North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, which threatens the United States, before it can expect any concessions.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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