The Air China Boeing 747 that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took to Singapore on Sunday is the private jet of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Hong Kong’s Apple Daily reported Monday.
Kim’s usual mode of transport is his own aircraft, the Chammae 1, but he appears to have sought help from China due to safety concerns regarding the condition of his jet.
Chammae 1 is a reconstructed Ilyushin Il-62, a Soviet long-range jet airliner. It was discontinued in 1995.
Although the long-range jet can fly up to 10,000 kilometers, easily covering the 4,600-kilometer distance between Pyongyang and Singapore, the age of the jet could have deterred the North Korean leader from using it for his first overseas trip to a place other than China since taking power.
Apple Daily said Kim could have negotiated the loan with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Dalian, China, in May.
Four Boeing planes are used by the Chinese political leadership: B-2443, B-2445, B-2447, B-2472.
The Air China Boeing 747 Kim Jong-un rode in to Singapore. (Reuters-Yonhap)
Xi’s plane is the B-2472, while Premier Li’s is the B-2447, the one Kim rode.
The B-2447 is a 23-year-old aircraft that serves as a normal passenger carrier when not in use by Li.
Whenever it is employed as a private jet, the interior of the plane is reupholstered into a private aircraft, complete with an office, reception area and bedroom.
Unlike the US’ Air Force One, the B-2447 is not equipped with a defense system against artilleries.
US President Donald Trump and Kim arrived in Singapore on Sunday, ahead of their summit scheduled for Tuesday. Kim arrived at 2:36 p.m. (local time), while Trump arrived via Air Force One at 8:22 p.m.
By Lim Jeong-yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org