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Thursday, 23 August, 2001, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
North Korean rainbows bless Kim's Russian tour
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-il
Russian President Putin greets Kim in the Kremlin
Nature smiled on the recent visit to Russia by the reclusive North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, according to the state-controlled media in North Korea.

Kim's journey to Russia was no ordinary one. He is said to have a fear of flying and so he travelled in a 21-carriage special armoured train.

The marathon trip from North Korea to Russia took 10 days across several thousand miles of Russian territory. The official visit lasted just five days.


The rainbow appeared "as if congratulating Kim Jong-il on his outstanding revolutionary activities"

Korean Central News Agency
However, according to the official Korea Central News Agency, a series of "natural wonders" took place in North Korea during Kim's absence.

On 4 August, when Kim met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, a "huge waterspout" rose in the centre of a North Korean lake.

The "mushroom-like spout", which was about 20m high and 30-40m in diameter, was visible for some 10 minutes, the agency said.

Rainbows

Two days later, a "colourful rainbow" was seen in the sky above the Kumsusan Memorial Palace which is a mausoleum for Kim's late father, Kim Il-Sung, in the capital, Pyongyang,

Kim Jong-il waves goodbye on train on way back to North Korea
Kim bids Russia farewell on his way back home
The agency said the rainbow appeared "as if congratulating Kim Jong-il on his outstanding revolutionary activities to glorify president Kim Il-sung's revolutionary cause".

This rainbow followed an earlier one on 31 July, when an "unprecedented" double rainbow appeared above the northwestern city of Sinuiju three times in half an hour.

Perhaps predictably, a "rare rainbow" was seen for over 20 minutes in the early morning just after Kim returned home to North Korea.

This time, it was over Mount Paektu which lies on the country's border with China and is the highest peak in the Korean Peninsula.

According to legend, Korean civilization sprang into existence there and Kim Jong-il himself is said to have been born at a secret camp nearby.

"The mysterious scenery reminded one of gorgeous colour tapes hanging in the sky over the secret camp on Mount Paektu with the native home of Kim Jong-il as its centre," the agency said.

This is not the first time natural phenomena have appeared in the North Korean media.

It is often reported as evidence of divine support for Kim Jong-il, who came to power after his father and predecessor died in 1994.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

09 Aug 01 | Europe
Kim bids farewell to Moscow
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