Speculation rife that North Korea's Kim visited Beijing

Speculation rife that North Korea's Kim visited Beijing

Speculation rife that North Korea's Kim visited Beijing

The mystery surrounding North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's unexpected trip to Beijing intensified Tuesday, with the despot's heavily guarded and bulletproof train returning to Pyongyang after holding secretive meetings with Chinese officials.

The speculation over just who traveled by special train from North Korea to Beijing drew a swift reaction from Chinese censors.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, asked whether Kim or another North Korean official was visiting Beijing, said, "I know you're all very curious but I have no information on that".

Searches for the term "North Korea" were blocked Tuesday while "Kim Jong Un" turned up results from several days ago on major social media platforms, including Sina's Weibo.

Police also cleared out all tourists from Tiananmen Square around the same time, which normally only happens when important meetings are happening in the Great Hall of the People, where top Chinese leaders often meet visiting heads of state.

Kyodo, citing sources close to the matter, said the visit of the official was meant to improve ties between Beijing and Pyongyang that have been frayed by North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and China's backing of tough sanctions against North Korea at the United Nations Security Council.

Footage from Nippon News Network, owned by Nippon TV, showed what an announcer described as a green train carriage with yellow horizontal lines, part of a 21-car train, similar to the kind that Kim's late father, Kim Jong Il, rode when he visited Beijing in 2011.

The activity followed the arrival Monday of a train resembling one used by North Korea's previous leader, and a foreign guesthouse in Beijing had a heavy security presence overnight.

The Chinese foreign ministry says it has no information on speculation that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has visited Beijing.

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"The government is closely communicating with relevant countries and monitoring the situation", South Korea's presidential Blue House said in a statement via a messaging app earlier on Monday.

Some speculated it was Kim Jong-un's younger sister Kim Yo-jong making the visit.

Kyodo, citing sources, reported that on Sunday, a special train that might have carried the official passed through Dandong.

A vehicle convoy entered the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Monday evening and a military honour guard and heavy security were seen later. What would Kim Jong-un be planning to do on his visit?

Since succeeding his father as leader in 2011, Kim has touted an image of his country as diplomatic equal to China and it is unlikely he would sneak into Beijing for his first face-to-face meetings with the Chinese leadership, analysts said. The office says it also can not confirm a report that the train carried Kim's sister. "Kim will probably tell Xi his plan for the summits with Moon and Trump and ask for China's close cooperation in guaranteeing his regime's survival in exchange for giving up a nuclear arsenal", continued the professor.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's an unusual chap, but his recent behavior has deviated from his usual insular ways.

Almost two-thirds of Americans approve of Trump's decision to meet with Kim (62% approve, 31% disapprove) and the President's overall approval for handling the situation with North Korea has climbed from a November low of 35% to 43% now.

The reports sparked speculation that leader Kim Jong Un might have been on the train.

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