North Korea’s missiles can circle the globe, but will Kim Jong-Un have to hitch a ride to Trump summit?

by WorldTribune Staff, April 12, 2018

North Korea has threatened an ICBM strike on the continental United States, but questions have been raised as to how Kim Jong-Un will travel to meet U.S. President Donald Trump at their upcoming summit.

The plane recently used by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, apparently a Soviet Il-62 made in the 1960s. / Reuters

According to a report by The Washington Post, the North Korean leader may not be able to find a plane in his Soviet-era fleet that could reliably get him across the Pacific Ocean or to Europe without stopping to refuel.

The flight from Pyongyang to Los Angeles is 9,500 kilometers (5,903 miles) and would stretch the boundary range of Air Force Un – Kim’s cold war-era Ilyushin-62, a Soviet-manufactured long-range jet.

“They don’t have an aircraft that can fly across the Pacific – most are quite old,” said Joseph Bermudez, an author who contributes to the 38 North website.

Having to stop and refuel on the way to a summit with Trump could not only be embarrassing to Kim, but could be complicated given the number of countries that have sanctioned North Korea, the report said.

Trump’s Air Force One, a Boeing VC-25 similar to a 747, is capable of flying nearly 13,000 kilometers (8,077 miles) without refueling.

“We used to make fun of what they have – it’s old stuff,” Sue Mi Terry, who served as a senior CIA analyst on Korean issues during the George W. Bush administration, told the Post. “We would joke about their old Soviet planes.”

Victor Cha, who served as senior Asia director at the National Security Council under Bush, said Kim could also choose to hitch a ride from someone else.

“In terms of his traveling anywhere, it would not be a problem – the South Koreans or the Swedes would give him a ride,” said Cha. “But it would be embarrassing.”

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