N.Korea's Kim treks through Siberia to meet Medvedev
North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong Il on Monday trekked through Siberia aboard his special armoured train to the city of Ulan-Ude for talks with President Dmitry Medvedev later this week.
It was the third day of Kim's week-long visit to the Russian Far East and Siberia, a rare trip out of his country battling food shortages and isolation. Kim is expected to meet Medvedev in the eastern Siberian city of Ulan-Ude near Lake Baikal in the Buddhist region of Buryatia, 5,550 kilometres (3,450 miles) east of Moscow later this week, possibly on Tuesday.
"The special train carrying the general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defence Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is going along the Trans-Siberian railway in the direction of Ulan-Ude," the administration of the Buryatia region said.
"Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, the Amur region have been left behind, and Chita is now the next big city along the Transsib railway," it said in a statement on its website, which was quoting an ITAR-TASS news agency report.
A spokesman for the Buryatia regional authorities said he was unaware of the time of Kim's expected arrival.
"Everything is being kept secret," he said.
A Russian official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said over the weekend the summit was set for "mid-week." Citing security concerns, the official declined to be more specific.
Kim crossed the Tumangan river into Russia on Saturday, and on Sunday visited the 2,000 megawatt-strong Bureiskaya hydro-power station in the Amur region, the largest in the Far East.
© 2011 AFP