Reclusive North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il is currently making his way around southern Chinese cities and is expected to visit Shanghai soon. His luxury train entered China’s Jilin province last Friday and arrived in the nearby city of Yangzhou on Sunday before going to Nanjing. (The leader reportedly has a fear of flying and only travels by train.) Though many of the details of his trip are cloaked in secrecy, the visit was confirmed by Premier Wen Jiabao who said China invited him to observe market reforms that enabled China to go from an economic backwater to the world’s second largest economy.
In Yangzhou, Kim met with former president Jiang Zemin. The city of Yangzhou carries particular historical significance because it was also the location of talks conducted between Jiang and Kim’s father, Kim Il Sung, in 1991.
Whether Kim’s third son and next-in-line Kim Jong Un is traveling with his pops hasn’t been confirmed yet. South Korean media were initially reporting that his successor was with him on the armored train as it entered China but according to state media Global Times, the heir was not with the group in Yangzhou.
But who knows? Maybe a possible Kim Jong Il/Un sighting will happen in Shanghai? Keep your eyes peeled these next few days.