03 May 2005
On The Road Again?
Kim inspecting a Combined KPA unit on April 27, 2005. (Photo from the Rodong Shinmun via Uriminzokkiri).
Kim Jong Il made some 13 visits to different locations in April, the last to a large combined unit of the KPA on April 27. He has made no further appearances since. In the mean time, Pyongyang has tested a Seersucker surface-to-ship missile, a possible reason for Kim to lay low for a day or two.
However, there is another possibility for Kim’s end to his tour around the country – he left. Now there is little to show he HAS left North Korea, but Kim was invited to Russia’s 60th anniversary memorial gathering to mark the end of WWII. Kim has not confirmed, and there are reports he won't show up at all, but there are still those in Moscow holding out some hope.
If he were heading to Moscow by train (which he has done before), it is about a 10 day trip – and the festivities begin May 9. If things are in perfect order, his train could get to Moscow in half the time, but the rail lines are never perfect, so the four or five days seems a tad quick.
Now, there is no current evidence out there that Kim IS on his way to Moscow (where he would be able to meet with Vladimir Putin, Hu Jintao, Junichiro Koizumi, Roh Moo Hyun and George Bush, but if he did show his bright and shining smile at that international gathering, what a PR coup for Moscow, and for Kim himself. Imagine him sitting next to Roh and Bush as they watch the parades?!
at 1:38:00 PM