BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Chinese Vietnamese Burmese Thai Indonesian
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific  
News Front Page
World
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent
-------------
Letter From America
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Kim Jong-il rolls into Russia
President Kim's armoured train
The train's wheels had to be swapped to fit the Russian track
North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong-il has begun a visit to the Russian far east.

The plane-shy leader's private train crossed the two countries' border at Khasan where he was met by regional officials as the train's wheels were changed to fit the Russian gauge.

Train pain
The high-security train consists of 22 carriages, Russian media say
Russia's Trans-Siberian railway was thrown into chaos at the height of the summer holiday season by the 2001 visit
A busy Moscow railway station was shut down for three hours, leaving thousands stranded
One Russian family sued their rail company after being kept waiting 10 hours by the visit

Mr Kim was accompanied by senior officials including the army's chief of general staff, Kim Yong Chung.

He is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the region's main city, Vladivostok, on Friday.

Russian officials reported earlier that special care had been taken to ensure the North Korean leader's train would not snarl up rail traffic in the region after a similar visit last summer caused widespread disruption.

"The railway authorities have... given an assurance that the timetable will be drawn up so that passenger train schedules are not violated," said Yevgeny Anoshin, a regional official in Vladivostok.

Mr Kim was due to travel on to the defence industry town of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, 900 km (560 miles) to the north, after an hour's stopover at Khasan. He is expected to visit defence plants there.

The North Korean leader earlier sent a message to Mr Putin in which he talked of the two countries' relations entering a new phase.

Kim Jong-il waves from the train
Kim is famously loathe to fly

Russian diplomats said the main reason for the visit was for Mr Kim to witness Russia's experience of economic reforms.

North Korea has recently introduced a number of economic changes, including price and wage hikes. Analysts suspect the measures are designed to lift production and rein in the black market rather than a genuine reform of the state-controlled system.

North Korea has also embarked on a number of new diplomatic initiatives in recent weeks - meeting South Korean officials, planning talks with Japan and offering to host a US delegation.

Correspondents say all Pyongyang's moves are being scrutinised to see if its often erratic behaviour can be trusted.


Nuclear tensions

Inside North Korea

Divided peninsula

TALKING POINT
See also:

14 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
29 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
09 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
29 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
06 Aug 01 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes