close

News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox


No meeting with China as North Korea leader Kim Jong Un's train makes no stop in Beijing

Kim Jong Un gestures to spectators as he boards a train to begin a two-day journey back to North Korea. Photograph:( Agencia EFE )

Agencia EFE Seoul, South Korea Mar 04, 2019, 03.54 PM (IST)

The armoured train carrying North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un on his way back from the Hanoi summit on Monday travelled past the Chinese capital on its journey back to Pyongyang, ending speculation about a possible meeting with the Chinese president.

The train went through the port city of Tianjin (southeast of Beijing) at 7 am and continued north towards Liaoning province, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

Kim's train departed from the Vietnamese village of Dong Dang on Saturday, two days after the abrupt ending of his summit with the United States President, Donald Trump, which closed without any agreements signed on North Korean denuclearization or the lifting of sanctions on Pyongyang.

The fact that the presidential train did not stop in Beijing excluded the possibility of a meeting between Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

There had been speculation about a possible meeting because Kim has always met with the leadership in Beijing - the main ally of Pyongyang - before or after summits with Trump in 2018 or South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

It was initially thought that the train would stop in Guangzhou either before or after the Hanoi summit in Vietnam.

Kim travelled 60 hours by train on the 4,500-kilometer journey from Pyongyang to Vietnam to attend the summit. 

The train was expected to reach Dandong in the Chinese province of Liaoning bordering North Korea before crossing over the border to continue towards Pyongyang.

The US president returned home after the US delegation left Hanoi on Thursday hours ahead of schedule and without declaration being signed on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Before his departure, Trump attributed the lack of an agreement to North Korea's insistence that the US lift all sanctions on the isolated North-East Asian nation, although he said that he and Kim had said goodbye on good terms.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho contradicted Trump's remarks shortly afterwards, saying that Pyongyang had only sought partial sanctions relief.

Following the summit with Trump, Kim held meetings with the Vietnamese leadership.

Story highlights

The train went through the port city of Tianjin (southeast of Beijing) at 7 am and continued north towards Liaoning province, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.