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June 24, 2006
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Kim Jong-ils Train
// Kim Jong-il was not seen crossing Russian border
But he may be expected in Moscow
South Korean newspaper Choson ilbo yesterday reported that Kim Jong-ils special armored train crossed the border of Russia. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and frontier and railway administration said they dont know anything about Kim Jong-ils arrival. Experts believe the visit is quite likely, especially because North Korean leader has urgent problems to discuss with the Kremlin.
Choson ilbo informed that several witnesses saw Kim Jong-ils special armored train cross Russian border. The date was not specified. Foreign Affairs Ministries of Russia and South Korea said they have no information concerning Kim Jong-ils visit to Russia.

Foreign Affairs Ministry of China and US Department of State refrained from giving comments. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said that Japanese government is now clearing up the situation. Press Secretary of Far East Railroads Vladivostok branch Alexander Artamonov stated that his department does not have any information on North Korean leaders trips to Russia.

However, when Kim Jong-il first visited Russia in summer 2001, his visit was officially announced latertwo days after he crossed the border of Russia. This visit is surrounded by even a greater secrecy. Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-il will probably discuss North Koreas refusal to return to six-sided talks until the U.S. lifts economic sanctions, and its preparation to launch a multi-stage rocket.

Pyongyang confirmed it plans to launch a rocket, although not a ballistic one, but a satellite carrier. It will allegedly take satellite Kvanmenson-2 to low earth orbit. The U.S. threatened it will shoot the rocket down, and began to pull in ships equipped with air defense facilities. Moreover, Washington and Tokyo threatened to demand the UN Security Council to impose even stricter sanctions on North Korea.

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited North Korean ambassador to warn his government not to take any steps which would aggravate Pyongyangs position. However, Moscow took the news about launch preparation in Korea much calmer than Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul. Russia is ready to wait and see. If Kim Jong-il is really coming to Moscow, Russia will receive the explanation for North Koreas strange behavior from its leader.

Andrey Ivanov

All the Article in Russian as of June 24, 2006

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