BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on a possible North Korean visit to China (all times local):
South Korea says it’s closely monitoring the arrival of a train in Beijing that looks like one used by North Korea’s previous leader. Seoul doesn’t know who’s on the train, but some media speculate that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made a surprise visit to China.
South Korea’s presidential office said Tuesday that it cannot immediately confirm reports that the train carried Kim on what would be his first overseas trip since taking power in 2011. The office says it also cannot confirm a report that the train carried Kim’s sister.
Some see a recent diplomatic push by Kim Jong Un as an attempt to improve the country’s economy. He has planned meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and President Donald Trump.
Japanese media reports say a special North Korean train has arrived in Beijing under unusually heavy security, suggesting a senior delegation might have been aboard.
A spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday she was not aware of the situation and had no further comment. North Korea’s state-run media had no reports of a delegation traveling to China.
Japanese television network NTV and public broadcaster NHK reported the arrival of the train and said the heavy security in the city suggested a senior official was aboard.
The reports sparked speculation that leader Kim Jong Un might have been on the train. Kim is expected to have a summit meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in late April and with U.S. President Donald Trump by May.