North Korea's swankiest ride: Kim Jong Un's tricked-out armored family train

Kim Jong-un visited China this week alongside his seldom-seen wife Ri Sol-ju. Little is known about her including her age who her parents are and whether Ri is even her real name

When the North Korean delegation eventually disembarked, Mr Kim walked down a small green ramp onto a red carpet lined with Chinese soldiers who saluted the leader.

But during Kim Jong-un's term, relations have remained distant in the best of cases: the North Korean leader viewed with resentment what he perceived as a dominant Chinese attitude.

"When China supported worldwide sanctions imposed against North Korea, some experts speculated that Beijing no longer considers Pyongyang its ally". This meeting was seen as preparation for eventual meetings with the US and South Korea.

"We had long expected Kim to pay a courtesy call to Beijing early in his leadership, he held off for seven years until he felt he was in a position of power to meet with the president of China as an equal", said Jean Lee, a North Korea expert at the Wilson Center.

Lu Chao, head of the Center for North Korean and Republic of Korea Studies at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out that while Kim's visit appears to have been an unexpected development for the worldwide community, it was actually a very logical thing.

North and South Korea have agreed to hold a leaders' summit on 27 April that will be only the third-ever such meeting. Prior to these events North Korea chose to consult its neighbor about these matters. Right: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shake hands at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 26, 2018.

Next month comes the true test of how well Kim can play on the world stage, when he meets with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump.

Masao Okonogi, Japan's leading Korean Peninsula researcher at Keio University, said Kim is seeking to normalize diplomatic relations with friendly countries and is likely to meet with Putin, the Nikkei reported Wednesday.

That sounds suspiciously like the salami-slicing tactics of his father Kim Jong-il of eking out small tit-for-tat concessions to string the worldwide community along.

Kim has affirmed that he is willing to meet with the United States, after a surprise meeting with President Xi that looks to have mended the growing rift between North Korea and China.

In November, North Korea tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) yet, which it said was capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to any United States target and appeared to meet a goal set for the country's weapons program.

The North Korean leader said that many important changes have taken in the Korean Peninsula where the situation is developing rapidly and he felt he should come in time to inform Xi in person the situation "out of comradeship and moral responsibility".

One Russian official who traveled with Kim Jong Il on the train to Moscow in 2001 said that live lobster and other delicacies were regularly sent to the train as it traveled. He has also offered to meet with President Trump, although the location of that proposed summit has not been confirmed.

The statement also says China briefed Trump about the visit. "We see this development as further evidence that our campaign of maximum pressure is creating the appropriate atmosphere for dialogue with North Korea", it said.

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