North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s armored train has arrived in China in advance of the second summit with US President Donald Trump in Vietnam, according to media reports.
The train arrived in the border city of Dandong after 9pm local time (13:00 GMT) on Saturday, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency and the specialist outlet NK News, though it was not known whether Kim was on board.
The train’s crossing into China follows days of speculation over Kim’s travel plans, which remain shrouded in secrecy, as his team gathered in Hanoi before the talks expected next Wednesday and Thursday.
The Vietnamese foreign ministry announced on Saturday Kim would “pay an official visit in the coming days”, before the summit, although no details were released.
Last week, the Reuters news agency said Kim would arrive in Vietnam on Feb 25.
North Korea’s state media has yet to confirm either Kim’s trip to Vietnam or his summit with Trump.
Security was tight before the train’s arrival in China, with police cordoning off the riverfront about 100 meters from the bridge with tape and metal barriers.
Guests at a hotel facing the rail bridge from North Korea were suddenly asked to leave on Friday and told it was closed on Saturday for impromptu renovations.
“The train is long and crossed the bridge slower than the tourist train, but its definitely him, there’s a lot of police presence,” an unidentified source told NK News.
Windows on the train were blacked out, the source said, with only headlights turned on as it crossed.
Several sources told the AFP news agency that Kim was expected to arrive in Vietnam by train, stopping at the Dong Dang train station near the China border, then driving to Hanoi.
On Saturday soldiers were deployed to Dong Dang station and along the road to the capital, according to AFP reporters at the scene.
Vietnam had already announced the unprecedented move of closing that 170-kilometer stretch of road on Tuesday between 6:00 am and 2:00 pm, suggesting Kim could travel on the road between those hours.