- Kim Jong Un’s planned grand entrance to Russia’s far-east city of Vladivostok hit the skids on Wednesday after a gaffe saw his security detail scramble to maintain the North Korean leader’s prestige.
- Kim’s famous armoured train was supposed to stop at a red carpet fit for the often punitive and intolerant leader, but overshot the mark.
- This resulted in a scramble by his security detail to properly align the train.
- Kim’s visit to Russia comes at a time when US-North Korean talks have stalled over a basic misunderstanding over the pacing of denuclearization steps and sanctions easing.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Tension and confusion gripped a train platform in Russia’s far-eastern city of Vladivostok on Wednesday when North Korean Kim Jong Un’s bullet-proof armoured train pulled in for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Both Putin and Kim are known for making grand entrances and power moves like showing up late to meetings with world leaders. But Kim on Wednesday appeared delayed due to a gaffe.
Kim arrived via train, as is his family’s custom and perhaps a clever way to avoid admitting his country has few working aircraft – but something was amiss.
When Kim’s train pulled into the station, it slightly overshot a red carpet laid out in advance for his big stepping-out moment.
While Kim maintains a horrific human rights record at home, he has been increasingly courted by world leaders looking to curb his country’s growing nuclear capabilities.
Apparently, Kim’s security detail found it unacceptable that he should walk on anything besides the red carpet, and had to stand there awkwardly holding a ramp while the train repositioned.
The meeting between Putin and Kim represents just the fourth official summit with a world leader for Kim. Putin, however, has met with most national leaders across Asia.
Russia and North Korea have historical ties of friendship, though the relations became strained during North Korea’s long nuclear breakout.
Upon arrival, Kim appeared to shake off any embarrassment from the train gaffe and quickly spoke to Russian media, a rare step from a leader who previously only spoke through North Korean state outlets.
Kim’s visit to Russia comes at a time when US-North Korean talks have stalled over a basic misunderstanding over the pacing of denuclearization steps and sanctions easing.
North Korea recently publicized the testing of a “tactical” weapon, potentially as a warning to the US that if talks collapse, missile launches and “fire and fury” could again become the norm.
For more on Kim’s trip to Russia, read here.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.