Somwhere near Vladivostok — From near deathbed to hoping-for-a-handout train traveler, the aerophobic Kim Jong il’s armored train has been spotted on the Russian border.
U.S. and South Korean intelligence officials confirmed that the armored train departed from Pyongyang for Hamgyong Province, and that Kim was expected to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Vladivostok.
But the train never crossed the border.
Kremlin spokeswoman Natalya Timakova told reporters Wednesday that Medvedev would be in attendance at several events during his trip but she would not confirm whether or not there would be a summit with the ageless repressor, Kim.
"President Medvedev will preside over a meeting covering the preparations for the APEC Summit in 2012 and tour facilities” Timakova said.
With the Russians denying they will meet with Kim, both the Japanese and Korean governments speculate that the hat-in-hand Kim was too ill to cross the border.
"If North Korea decided not to hold a summit, it must have been due to disagreements with Russia," said one South Korean official. "North Korea is seeking to gain concessions, but Russia may have demurred."
While it is not often enough you hear a government official say “demurred,” as to where Senor Kim may be is as yet unknown. (after all he does have two identical trains for deception). Relations with Beijing have been cool so he can't take his train south for needed charity. Stay tuned.