Kim Jong Un Refuses to Leave Home Without These 6 Things (Plus, Why a Private Toilet Made the List)
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is historically relevant for a number of factors, but recently, he is setting records for his travel itinerary. Kim took his first visit outside of North Korea since becoming the leader in March, became the first North Korean leader to cross the border since the end of the Korean War in April, and reportedly plans to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in May.
The high-maintenance leader is known for his extravagant taste, and he spares no expense when traveling. These are the six things Kim refuses to leave without as well as insight into why on earth a private toilet made the list (page 6).
Kim is traveling a lot lately
Kim took a historic visit — his first outside of North Korea since he took power — to China in March of 2018. North Korea’s leader met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing at Xi’s request. The visit foreshadowed the much-anticipated meet-up between long-time adversaries President Trump and Kim later this year.
Kim’s old friend, former NBA star Dennis Rodman, claimed living like Kim is like “going to Hawaii or Ibiza, but he’s the only one that lives there.” It turns out Kim likes to take his luxurious lifestyle with him when he travels … and he won’t leave North Korea without these six things.
Next: He travels in style, but certainly not quickly
1. The famous bulletproof train
Kim Jong Un rides in a 21-car, green and yellow bulletproof train similar to that of his late father Kim Jong Il. When Kim Jong Il used the train for travel he typically threw “lavish parties” with heavy drinking, karaoke, and pork barbecue during his journeys.
When Kim Jong Un travels, three trains are actually needed: an advance security train, Kim’s train, and a third train for the bodyguards and supplies. Since each individual carriage on Kim’s train is bulletproof, the trains can’t run faster than 37 miles per hour.
Next: He’s switched up his appearance for recent outings
2. An outfit ‘for show’
Kim has modernized his style year after year in what political-science experts call a “show” to look more “modern and connected.”
In his 2018 New Year’s Address, Kim diverged drastically from his usual Mao-collared “suitfits” and donned a silver-gray suit, white collared shirt, and silver tie that made him look like “a banker wearing Armani.” We expect that when Kim traveled to Beijing he donned another current suit to appear cordial.
Next: These people are literally just for show
3. His ‘on-the-spot guidance’
Everywhere Kim goes, men dutifully taking notes seem to follow. They’re not journalists or the Kim Jong Un fan club, but rather soldiers, party members, and government officials. Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, enlisted this “on-the-spot guidance” in the 1950s.
“It’s part of the image of the great leader offering benevolent guidance,” Professor James Grayson, a Korea expert, told the BBC. The men aren’t there to guide Kim in a time of need — rather, they’re there to showcase his supposed power, wisdom, and knowledge and take notes on what he does.
Next: Even Supreme Leaders get hungry on the road
4. A special noodle machine
When Kim met with South Korean President Moon Jae In in April 2018, the meeting wasn’t just a dramatic political move — Kim became the first North Korean leader to cross the border since the end of the Korean War — it was a peek into Kim’s diet on the road.
The meticulously-planned meeting was scheduled down to the last meal, one that included the personal tastes of both leaders. For Kim, that meant bringing a “naengmyeon” noodle machine for a head Pyongyang chef to make him a dish of cold noodles.
Next: So, why on earth does he need his own toilet?
5. A portable personal toilet
The creme-de-la-creme of Kim’s personal travel equipment? The portable toilet he brought to South Korea that a former North Korean Guard called par for the course. “Rather than using a public restroom, the leader of North Korea has a personal toilet that follows him around when he travels,” Lee Yun-keol said.
And it’s not because he’s an alleged germaphobe like another leader we know. North Korea is protecting what Kim’s bowel movements may reveal. “The leader’s excretions contain information about his health status so they can’t be left behind,” Lee explained.
Next: How Kim makes his swift trips
His private airstrip
It’s no secret Kim has a love for luxury and he showcases it with his travel as well as his toilets. The Telegraph reported that the leader ordered the construction of five private airstrips in 2015. The airstrips are located close to all of Kim’s private train stations and his multiple palace homes.
And don’t worry … according to the South Korean news agency DailyNK, each of Kim’s vehicles comes equipped with a customized bathroom.
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