Instead of flying the Pyongyang-Shanghai-Singapore route that takes around six-and-a-half hours but passes over sea, Kim Jong-un flew via Beijing, which took around 10 hours.
An aviation source in China said that "It probably cost a lot of money as well as representing a huge political burden to loan Kim the aircraft,” the publication Chosun Ilbo reported.
However, it was done to better protect the leader as routes over the sea are more difficult to safeguard. To further ensure the secrecy of the leader’s exact route, three planes took off from North Korea at about one hour’s interval: an Ilyushin IL-76, an Air China Boeing 747 and an Ilyushin IL-62.
One diplomatic source in Singapore said that "Tension was very high in North Korea, hence the secrecy."
First to arrive in Singapore was the IL-76 transport plane carrying food and other belongings of the DPRK’s leader, as well as his bullet-proof limousine and a portable toilet.
“Keeping Kim’s stool out of others’ reach also prevents details about his health status from leaking to the public,” Lee Yun-keol, a North Korean defector who was previously a North Korean guard command, told the Washington Post.
On Sunday, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met with Kim following the latter’s arrival in the country for the upcoming talks with Trump, scheduled for Tuesday.
The US-North Korean summit will mark the first-ever meeting of sitting leaders of the two countries. The highly-anticipated talks had been put at risk when, on May 24, Trump announced he was canceling the meeting with Kim due to Pyongyang's hostile rhetoric.