Kim Jong Un's private plane, designated Chammae-1, was spotted in the Russian port city of Vladivostok on Monday before flying back to North Korea three hours later, and the question remains why?
It was not confirmed if Kim was actually on the aircraft, which befits his new role of jet-setting international diplomat, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap.
According to the flight tracking website Flightradar24, Kim's jet landed in the Russian city earlier in the day before returning to Pyongyang, Yonhap noted.
"There is no guarantee that Chairman Kim was on board just because the Chammae-1 moved," a source told Yonhap.
There was speculation that North Korean officials flew to Russia to prepare for an economic summit there, the news agency said
"It appears that North Korean officials have traveled there to make preparations for Kim's possible participation in the Eastern Economic Forum to be held in Vladivostok this September."
Russian President Vladimir Putin in May invited Kim to the annual forum, Yonhap said, but he had not responded to the invitation yet.
Russia has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend the economic forum as well, Yonhap said. The news agency said if they all attend, it would be a rare chance the leaders to talk about North Korea's nuclear issues on the sidelines.
The Chammae-1 flight comes less than a week after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited North Korea for talks about denuclearization, with both sides walking away with differing opinions on how it turned out, CNN reported.
North Korean leaders charged the U.S. had a "gangster-like mindset" in the high-level negotiations led by Pompeo, while the secretary of state called the talks "productive," CNN said.
"I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding," CNN global affairs analyst Joseph Yun, a former top U.S. diplomat on North Korea policy. "The U.S. still believes North Korea will denuclearize substantially before we give them any major rewards, while North Korea believes that the two need to move together jointly, and both make concessions."
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