Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Far East Envoy: Kim Jong Il Gives Off a 'Powerful Aura'

VLADIVOSTOK, Far East -- A Russian official who accompanied reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on his cross-country train ride across Russia last summer revealed details of the journey in excerpts from a forthcoming book that were published Tuesday.

Konstantin Pulikovsky, President Vladimir Putin's special representative to the Far Eastern Federal District, said he met with Kim every day during the 24-day trip, according to the Vladivostok newspaper. He described the encounters with the Stalinist leader in mystical tones.

"After dialogues with Kim, I returned to my car very exhausted. I think it's because Kim Jong Il radiates strong personal energy. I could constantly feel his powerful aura," Pulikovsky said.

Kim and his entourage traveled 12,800 kilometers from the North Korean capital Pyongyang to Moscow and back along the Trans-Siberian Railroad last August.

In the book excerpt, Pulikovsky shed some light on the workings of Kim's inner circle. He said North Korean ministers followed certain rituals when Kim granted them an audience in his cabin.

"As they entered, they bowed deeply, and stood like that until the commander gave them a barely invisible signal that they could straighten up," he said.

Pulikovsky said extraordinary measures were taken to ensure Kim's security during the trip. He said the North Korean leader had 25 bodyguards to protect him, along with an unspecified number of Russian security agents.

Putin also sent 50 snipers who occupied key spots in and around train stations whenever Kim disembarked, Pulikovsky said.

Pulikovsky also said the 15-car train that carried Kim was not fully armored, as was previously reported. He said the train had been a gift from Josef Stalin to Kim's father, the late Kim Il Sung, and only had armor plating on the floor.

Despite the intense security precautions, the train was attacked twice by stone-throwing hooligans, once near the city of Ussurisk in the Far East and once near St. Petersburg, Pulikovsky said.