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Kim Jong-un's Russia itinerary may involve fleet headquarters, food factories

All Headlines 11:24 April 24, 2019

By Oh Seok-min

SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) -- Russia's Pacific Fleet headquarters, food factories and a public aquarium are among the sites that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could visit this week after his summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After departing from an undisclosed train station earlier in the day, Kim crossed the border into the Russian border city of Khasan and is set to arrive at his final destination of Vladivostok later Wednesday. Kim is expected to hold talks with Putin on Thursday.

Though Kim's detailed itinerary is not known, widespread indications are that Kim may stay until Friday for special tours in the city or its vicinity.

Among the main candidates for a visit are Russia's Pacific Fleet headquarters, food factories and a public aquarium, according to diplomatic sources and media reports, as those are places Kim Chang-son, leader Kim's protocol chief, went to while preparing for the leader's trip.

"North Korea will select the destinations in a way to best highlight the significance of Kim's Russia visit on the political, economic and cultural fronts," Kim Yong-hyun, a professor at Seoul-based Dongguk University, said, adding that Kim's schedule would be fixed after his arrival.

If he visits the Pacific Fleet headquarters, Kim may look around the military history museum there and go aboard a command ship, a diplomatic source well-versed in the issue said. Pyongyang would aim to show off its security cooperation ties with Moscow through such a visit.

Also on the list is Primorsky Aquarium, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Far East, located quite close to Far Eastern Federal University, the most likely summit venue. On its website, the aquarium said that it will be closed Friday.

Though the Far Eastern stage of Saint Petersburg's world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre was thought to be a strong candidate, the source speculated that Kim could enjoy a performance by the equally famous Igor Moiseyev ballet company on the school campus, rather than visiting the theater.

He could also follow in the footsteps of his father, Kim Jong-il, who inspected a Russian warship and purchased several dozen cakes at a bakery during his 2002 visit to meet Putin, the source added.

"Possible visits to factories producing milk, chocolates or bread would give the North Korean people an impression that their leader takes care of the everyday living of the general public," professor Kim added.

The leader could also meet with North Korean students or researchers residing there before returning home, according to the sources.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves while at a railway station in an undisclosed location on April 24, 2019, before boarding a train for Russia for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in this photo provided by the Korean Central News Agency. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

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