The recent summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea made international news on multiple fronts, including reports of the incredibly tight security measures imposed surrounding all aspects of Kim Jong Un’s international travel.
With his having traveled outside of North Korea minimally since taking control of the dictatorial dynasty, news surrounding his trips abroad in recent months has shed light on the safety concerns Kim’s handlers have in mind.
Prior to Kim’s trip to Singapore to meet one-on-one with U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday, Fox News cited multiple sources familiar with what safeguards would be in place to protect the leader.
One of the more unusual security steps had been reported ahead of Kim’s previous trip to South Korea earlier this year.
As The Washington Post reported in April, a source formerly involved in the North Korean Guard Command said Kim’s security team is careful to make sure potential spies are unable to access any information about the reclusive leader.
“Rather than using a public restroom, the leader of North Korea has a personal toilet that follows him around when he travels,” said Lee Yun-keol.
Lee left North Korea years before Kim assumed power upon his father’s death in 2011, but Korean media reports suggest the practice continues under the current ruler.
“The leader’s excretions contain information about his health status so they can’t be left behind,” the former insider said.
Other aspects of his travel, including his arrival in Singapore aboard an American-made Chinese charter jet, revealed an apparent attention to maintaining Kim’s safety and comfort throughout the historic trip.
We are tracking two possible flights that Kim Jong Un may be on – one is a commercial flight (pictured) and one is his private plane which briefly appeared on flight tracker. #TrumpKimSummit #NorthKorea pic.twitter.com/WAYatnPQ4x
— Whitney Hurst (@whitney_hurst) June 10, 2018
The New York Times reported prior to the summit that Kim landed on one of three planes, though his was the only Boeing 747. The jumbo jet had a Chinese flag and the Air China logo on it upon Kim’s arrival in Singapore on Sunday.
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His sister, Kim Yo Jong, is believed to have flown on one of the two Russian-built planes that joined the 747. The third carried Kim’s limousine.
Chinese sources suggested Kim likely flew on the more reliable Air China jet to minimize the risk of an issue during the flight. His own aircraft is said to be a Soviet-era Ilyushin Il-62 that is no longer in production.
“The Russian aircraft cannot compare with the Chinese Boeing 747-4J6 for safety and comfort level,” Chinese aerospace columnist Gao Zhuo said.
Not only is safety a primary concern, Gao said, but so is Kim’s perceived reputation.
“Any incidents on the trip, a proud person like Kim would be very embarrassed,” he said.
Experts and scholars familiar with the diplomatic relationship between China and North Korea are sure the Chinese government provided Kim with the use of the jet as a diplomatic gesture.
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