DONG DANG, Vietnam (AFP) – The train station on the Vietnam-China border where Kim Jong-un is expected to arrive by rail was closed to the public and surrounded by armed guards yesterday, days ahead of the North Korean leader’s summit with Donald Trump.
Kim boarded his trademark olive-green train in Pyongyang on Saturday and its armoured carriages were later spotted crossing a bridge into China.
The train apparently bypassed Beijing and is now thought to be chugging south en route to Vietnam, which is hastily preparing for the second meeting between Kim and US President Trump after their historic first summit in Singapore last June.
Sources in Vietnam said Kim could arrive at the Dong Dang border station in the early hours today following his epic 4,000 kilometre, two-and-a-half-day journey.
His motorcade is likely to drive from Dong Dang to Hanoi and in an unprecedented move, the entire 170-kilometre stretch of road will be completely closed from 6am to 2pm today.
An AFP reporter at the scene saw armed guards stationed at Dong Dang station yesterday morning, while workers tended to the rail tracks.
“(The station) is closed, no public access. We don’t know when it’s closed until but around tomorrow,” a guard told AFP, requesting anonymity.
Kim’s route through China remained a tightly guarded secret.
Ifeng, the online Chinese-language news website of Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television, yesterday posted a video on its Twitter-like Weibo account showing what it described as Kim’s special train passing through Wuhan in the central province of Hubei at 7.15am local time.
Vietnam said last Saturday that Kim would make an official visit to the country “in the coming days”, but did not say whether that would be before or after the Trump-Kim summit on February 27-28.