Kim Jong-un’s armored train has reached Vladivostok, a city in Russia’s Far East, which will host the first-ever meeting between Kim and President Vladimir Putin.
The summit, which is scheduled for Thursday, will be hosted by the Far Eastern Federal University at its new campus on Russky Island, which is across the bridge from Vladivostok.
The program of the visit has largely been kept secret, but evidence of preparations for the high-profile meeting has been floating around since Monday.
The armored train arrived at the station in Vladivostok hours after crossing the Korean-Russian border on Wednesday morning. As it was coming to a stop, Korean bodyguards in black business suits and white gloves poured out onto the platform.
They wiped clean the door that their leader would soon exit from, and put in place a small ramp connecting the train car and a red carpet prepared for Kim.
Kim had a smaller welcoming ceremony at the Russian border town of Khasan, where he was offered bread and salt as a gesture of hospitality, and a short tour to a historic building which has significance for the North Korean ruling family.
Accompanied by senior Russian officials, Kim went to the terminal square, where a military band in full parade uniforms played national anthems of North Korea and Russia. The visiting dignitary and his delegation were then treated with a military tattoo.
He then boarded a diplomatic limousine and left in a motorcade as the band played a farewell tune.
The visit to Russia is Kim’s first since taking power in Pyongyang in 2011, as well as his first face-to-face meeting with President Vladimir Putin. Among other things, the top-level talks are expected to deal with the stalled process of de-escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Last year, Kim held a highly-anticipated summit with US President Donald Trump in Vietnam, which ended without a diplomatic breakthrough. Pyongyang matured its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technologies under Kim, prompting a nervous reaction from the Trump administration in 2017. The latter boosted war games with regional allies, triggering unease in North Korea, which called the exercises “provocations.”ALSO ON RT.COM