Friday, June 23, 2006

Kim goes for a train ride......To Russia

Kim Jong-il's Special Train Heads for Russian Border

Intelligence officials were on high alert Thursday after receiving information that the special armored train of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is heading toward the Russian border. As of Friday night, it did not seem that the train has crossed the border to take the reclusive leader on a Russia visit.

Experts offer two possible explanations. One is that Kim is visiting Russia. One of the special train’s cars has already crossed the border while the wheels on others are being replaced, some sources said. North Korea and Russia have different railway gauges. If a leading car is already in Russia, Kim may well be paying a visit to the country.

But other South Korean officials say the train is merely near the Russian border but the future will tell if it crosses. “We don’t have information to support speculation that Kim Jong-il is to visit Russia,” a high ranking government official said. Russia, too, denies Kim is coming.

Alternatively, Kim may be on a trip to inspect border areas in Hamgyong Province. North Korea’s state-run Korean Central Broadcasting Station said Friday morning Kim is inspecting the 715 unit of the Korean People's Army. It specified no date.

Government officials for a moment thought Kim was heading for the launch pad of what the U.S. says is a long-range ballistic missile, which is located in the northeastern province. A government official said nothing can be ruled out and Seoul is working with Russia and analyzing a variety of intelligence information.

Kim took a five-day trip to Far Eastern Russia in late August in 2002 and visited Moscow and other Russian cities aboard his train over 24 days in July and August in 2001. Experts say if Kim does visit Russia, it may be to seek ways of breaking the impasse over its missile program.

Why would he leave his country just before there's a missile test?

Is he expecting missiles coming back his way cause of what is going to be "tested?"