A train thought to belong to Kim Jong-un has been spotted at his compound in a resort town on the country’s east coast, according to satellite images, amid conflicting reports about the North Korean leader’s health and whereabouts, Guardian reported.
Images reviewed by 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea monitoring project 38 North, showed that the train had been parked at the “leadership station” in Wonsan since at least 21 April.
Citing an analysis of recent satellite photos of the area, 38 North said the 250m-long train was not present on April 15 but was seen on both April 21 and 23. The site said the train appeared to have been repositioned for departure on the latter date, but added that there had been no indication of when it might leave. The station is reserved for the use of the Kim family, it added.
“The train’s presence does not prove the whereabouts of the North Korean leader or indicate anything about his health but it does lend weight to reports that Kim is staying at an elite area on the country’s eastern coast,” the 38 North report said.
Speculation about Kim’s health grew quickly following his absence from the anniversary of the birthday of North Korea’s founding father and Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, on 15 April. On Saturday, Kim missed another national holiday, North Korea’s Military Foundation Day, further fuelling speculation about his health.
According to a report in Newsweek, U.S. intelligence has seen no sign of unusual military activity in the country but are continuing to monitor the situation closely.
Newsweek quoted a senior unnamed Pentagon official as saying: “We have observed no indications or received any additional information to make a conclusive assessment on the status of North Korean leadership or health of Kim Jong-un.”
But the official went on to say the presence of the train in Wonsan and Kim’s absence from recent events lent credibility to reports that he was ill. Kim’s status meant North Korea could conceivably delay announcing his death to ensure security measures were in place, the official said.
North Korea’s state media last reported on Kim’s whereabouts when he presided over a meeting of the ruling party’s politburo on 11 April.