SINGAPORE: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s private jet departed from Pyongyang on Sunday (Jun 11) headed for Singapore, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said without providing further details.
A different cargo plane which accompanied Kim Jong Un on his recent visit to China also departed Pyongyang and was likely headed for Singapore on Sunday, ahead of Kim’s summit with US President Donald Trump.
Kim is due to meet Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong later on Sunday, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
President Trump will meet PM Lee on Monday. He is scheduled to arrive at Singapore’s Paya Lebar Airbase at 8.35pm on Sunday and go to the Shangri-La Hotel, according to the White House.
His delegation onboard Air Force One includes Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
Kim has taken only one known overseas trip by air since becoming leader in 2011 and the Ilyushin-76 cargo plane accompanied his personal Ilyushin-62M jet to Dalian in China in May.
An Il-76 departed Pyongyang early on Sunday and stopped in Guangzhou in southern China before being airborne again likely headed for Singapore, flight tracking services showed.
The Il-76 cannot fly more than 3,000 km (1,860 miles) without refueling if carrying a full load. It was expected to stop off at a friendly location on the way to Singapore, which is 4,700 km (2,920 miles) from Pyongyang’s Sunan airport, or fly with a reduced load.
The Il-76, originally designed for moving heavy machinery to remote parts of the Soviet Union, is big enough to fit a school bus or two shipping containers inside it, according to passenger and cargo flight operator Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions.