An unusually large police and troop presence assembled in the Chinese border city of Dandong for much of Wednesday, sources told NK News on condition of anonymity, possibly linked to a VIP visitor related to North Korea.
“Armed troops are everywhere, lockdown…something is going down in Dandong,” an unnamed source told NK News, adding that rumors in the city suggested their presence may be North Korea-related.
“There were police every 30-50 meters on both sides of the street along the Yalu and tons of police vehicles,” another source confirmed to NK News, also on condition of anonymity.
“My guess is someone very important must have driven by, probably around three pm.”
Chinese state media has not currently reported on high-level delegations passing through the city, making it difficult to ascertain what the security presence assembled there for.
But the heightened security measures echo local arrangements when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un passed the city by train to meet Xi Jinping in Beijing in late March, just weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump accepted the DPRK leaders’ unprecedented invitation to meet.
Kim met Xi for a second time in the Chinese city of Dalian, just days ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flying to Pyongyang on May 9, suggesting a link of sorts between U.S. diplomacy and recent high-level Sino-DPRK meetings.
Still, it appears unlikely that the security presence in Dandong is related to the travel plans of Kim himself, coming hours after two Air China Boeing 747s returned the North Korean leader and a large support staff from Singapore to Pyongyang.
Flight tracking data showed that Kim Jong Un took off on Tuesday from Singapore at around 2330 local time, just less than half a day after wrapping up his historic meeting with Trump.
His flight was trailed by a second Air China 747, likely carrying delegation support staff, as well as an Air Koryo Ilyushin-76 heavy lifter to transport his armored limousine.
A DPRK state aircraft, an Ilyushin-62M, was also in Singapore for the summit and likely flew back the same evening, though flight tracking data revealed nothing about its route on Wednesday.
On Sunday the IL-62M separately transported Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, likely as a security measure to protect the family in case of an incident involving one of the other flights.
Featured image: NK News
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