ULAN-UDE, August 22 (Itar-Tass) — The special train on which the General Secretary of the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK), Kim Jong-il, is travelling will not impede the functioning of the Trans-Baikal railway, the railway’s corporate communications service reported on Monday.
The places of possible stopovers of the train, its schedule and the time of its arrival in Chita are not made public. Meanwhile, security measures are stepped up in Buryatia, neighbouring the Baikal region.
Police have been put on alert in connection with an upcoming meeting of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Kim Jong-il, sources from the press service of Buryatia’s interior ministry told Tass.
Vehicles accompanied by road police cars are often seen in the streets of Ulan-Ude, which is a rare sight for the city with the population of less than 400,000 people.
The train of Kim Jong-il stopped in Ulan-Ude during his first trip to Russia ten years ago. However, he did not leave the train then, although republic’s leaders waited on the railway platform with presents. On the way back from Moscow to Pyongyang, the train also made only a technical stopover in Ulan-Ude. No events were planned during the stopover.
The special train on which Kim Jong-il is travelling on Sunday passed through the Amur region and is now on the Trans-Baikal railway, leaving behind the Primorye and Khabarovsk territories, the Amur and Jewish Autonomous regions. The North Korean leader followed the same route 10 years ago when he was travelling from Pyongyang to Moscow.
The program of his visit includes trips to some regions of the Far Eastern and Siberian federal districts. A meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will be the focal event.
Kim Jong-il visited Russia twice. Earlier, he accompanied his father, Kim Il-sung, to the USSR in 1957 and 1959.
The first official visit to Russia was paid in the summer 2001 and it was unprecedentedly long – from July 26 to August 18. Kim Jong-il travelled to the whole territory of Russia and practically repeated the father’s itinerary. While in Moscow, he held talks with Vladimir Putin. Both parties signed the Moscow Declaration, which confirmed the sides’ commitment to ensuring global stability and strengthening bilateral relations.
The second visit to Russia was made on August 20-24, 2002. Kim Jong-il paid a study trip to the Far East. He studied the region’s economic policy. He met with Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok on August 23.