North Korea’s Kim begins train journey to Hanoi for summit with Trump

North Korea’s Kim begins train journey to Hanoi for summit with Trump

North Korea’s Kim begins train journey to Hanoi for summit with Trump

Quoting a diplomatic source, the Russian news agency Tass said the armoured train set off at 5pm local time and is expected to take Kim all the way to Vietnam, passing through China.

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.

Kim is visiting Vietnam at the invitation of President Nguyen Phu Trong, who is also general secretary of the ruling Communist Party, Vietnam's foreign ministry said in a statement earlier on Saturday, but it gave no further details.

The Trump-Kim meeting is slated for Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi.

He is expected to arrive in Vietnam on February 25.

Some media speculated about Kim Jong Un traveling to Beijing for a meeting with his ally, Chinese President Xi Jinping, before continuing towards Vietnam.

Another option for Kim would be to take the train to Beijing and catch a plane to the Vietnamese capital.

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North Korea wants an easing of punishing USA -led sanctions, security guarantees and a formal end of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a treaty.

Vietnam had already announced the unprecedented move of closing that 170-kilometre stretch of road on Tuesday between 6:00 am and 2:00 pm - suggesting Kim could travel on the road between those hours.

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.

On Kim's last rail trip in January, he travelled to Beijing with his entourage in an olive-green train emblazoned with a yellow stripe.

Travel by train has been a favorite mode of transport for Kim Jong Un, and his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung. They are expected to focus on what steps North Korea might take towards denuclearisation, in exchange for what US concession. But when he visited China the same year, he used his own specialized steel-plated train instead.

Hanoi has been gearing up for the summit with beefed-up security. Their first summit last June in Singapore ended without substantive agreements on the North's nuclear disarmament and triggered a months-long stalemate in negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

They said the Metropole Hotel would be a backup location for the summit and Kim could possibly stay in the Melia hotel.

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