- North Korean TV via BBC Monitoring/Twitter
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traveled to China on Tuesday for a four-day summit with President Xi Jinping.
- Tuesday is also Kim’s 35th birthday.
- The North Korean leader took his family’s personal armored train and traveled through Beijing with a massive motorcade.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traveled on his personal armored train to China to spend his birthday with President Xi Jinping.
Kim arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, which is his 35th birthday.
North Korean state media aired footage of Kim walking along a long red carpet to board his family’s train, which is bulletproof and has white conference rooms and pink leather chairs.
He waved to the dozens of government officials and army officers who had lined up to send him off.
He was accompanied by at least eight other officials as well as his wife, the former singer Ri Sol Ju.
Watch clips of his departure below, as published by BBC Monitoring:
Footage of Kim Jong-un's departure for Beijing aired on North Korean TV. pic.twitter.com/XOeJQnaTdZ
— BBC Monitoring (@BBCMonitoring) January 8, 2019
The CNN reporter Matt Rivers on Tuesday also published video of Kim’s motorcade – at least four black cars and at least 16 motorbikes – traveling along Chang’An Avenue, a busy boulevard in central Beijing that appeared to have been cleared for Kim’s visit.
Kim and Xi are due to meet on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Rivers said.
Here's our video showing some of Kim Jong Un's arrival in Beijing. The motorcade is seen heading down Beijing's most famous boulevard, on the way to meet Xi Jinping. Meetings set for today, the 9th, and the 10th. pic.twitter.com/3ahppYkw2D
— Matt Rivers (@MattRiversCNN) January 8, 2019
Kim’s trip to China – his fourth in less than a year – comes amid rumors of a second summit with US President Donald Trump.
China is North Korea’s most important trading partner and a buffer against pressure from the US.
Trump said earlier this week that he was “negotiating a location” for a second meeting with Kim. White House officials have been considering Hawaii, Bangkok, and Hanoi, Vietnam, according to CNN.
Trump and Kim first met face-to-face in June in Singapore, where they agreed to work toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. Their agreement did not mention a timeline, however, and provided only vague details.
There has since been little real progress in terms of nuclear disarmament, which is the stated aim of US engagement with North Korea.
The US wants North Korea to provide detailed accounts of its nuclear arsenal, while Pyongyang says it has done enough and now wants Washington to ease economic sanctions.
Trump said earlier this week that his administration had “a very good dialogue” with its North Korean counterparts, but he said sanctions would remain until they see “very positive” results.