By Phillip Orchard
It’s shaping up to be quite a spring for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Prior to this week, the mercurial strongman had yet to venture abroad since taking power in 2011, or even to meet with another foreign leader at home, content instead to focus on consolidating power and pushing the North’s nuclear and missile programs into overdrive. Over the next two months, however, he’s set to go toe-to-toe at the bargaining table with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, U.S. President Donald Trump and possibly even Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – despite having no real experience with face-to-face diplomacy. Thus, it shouldn’t have been all that surprising when reports surfaced March 26 that Kim had poked his head out from his bunker for a quick train ride to Beijing.
For days it was unclear whether Kim had actually gone to Beijing. We knew that an armored train regularly used by Kim Jong Un’s late father, Kim Jong Il, crossed the Yalu River amid