Heavy security in Beijing sparks rumors of visit by North Korean leader Kim
Particularly heavy security measures in the Chinese capital have prompted the media to speculate that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un may be on a visit to Beijing, which has warned against speculation but is yet to release information about the matter.
Japanese media reported on Monday that a high-ranking official from North Korea appeared to have arrived by a special train in Beijing, in what was first reported by Bloomberg.
Heavy security was seen around the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing after a convoy of vehicles also arrived on Monday and was met with an honor guard.
The guesthouse had in the past been used by senior North Korean dignitaries, including Kim’s father, the late Kim Jong-il.
On Tuesday, a convoy of official Chinese cars was seen leaving the east gate of the guesthouse, and the special train left Beijing station.
‘No information now’
Officials in China have confirmed a visit by a North Korean official but have not elaborated yet.
China said on Tuesday that it would release information on rumors that Kim or another high-level North Korean official paid a visit to Beijing “in due course.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing she had “no information for the moment. Information will be published in due course.”
A senior American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the heavy security measures suggested that Kim had traveled to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.
One source with ties to China’s leadership said it was possible that Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, was in the city. South Korean news media sources reported that Kim Yo-jong and the North’s ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, were visiting Beijing, citing an unidentified source.
The two visited South Korean President Moon Jae-in at his office in Seoul during the Winter Olympics in February.
The North Korean leader is due to hold separate summits with South Korea’s President Moon in late April and possibly with US President Donald Trump in May.