In what could be a powerful statement to the United States that China stands with North Korea, a Chinese fighter jet may escort Kim Jong-un's plane to Singapore where he is scheduled to meet Donald Trump next Tuesday (June 12).
A South China Morning Post report quoted a South Korean military source as saying that China is planning to send an escort fighter jet with North Korea Air Force One that would be taking Kim Jong-un for the historic meet. "Escorting (a head of a state) with jets is one of the highest security protocols that the air force can provide,” the source was quoted as saying. "If China does provide the escort, it may be a message directed at the US-ROK alliance that China is strongly backing up the Kim regime."
Singapore is over 4,000 kilometres away from Pyongyang. The only known overseas trip Kim has made since taking power was to China earlier this year - in a heavily-armoured train. It is learnt that he is extremely finicky - bordering on paranoia - about his personal security and having a Chinese fighter jet trailing his plane could be reassuring. Security analysts believe he would also be making use of Chinese airspace for most parts of his aerial journey towards Singapore.
Meanwhile, North Korean security and intelligence officials have already begun preparing for Kim's visit in Singapore. His security contingent could be extremely large with many saying it could rival that of Trump.