It is not unclear whether the North Korean leader, Mr. Kim Jong-un, is going to give up his nukes anytime soon, and that could probably be said for his cigarettes.
Japan's TBS TV showed Mr. Kim, a habitual smoker, taking a pre-dawn smoke break on Tuesday at a railway station in China hours before his arrival in Vietnam for his summit with the US President, Mr. Donald Trump, over resolving the international standoff over the North's nuclear weapons and missiles.
The video showed Mr. Kim puffing a cigarette and talking with North Korean officials at Nanning rail station. A woman who appeared to be his sister,Ms. Kim Yo Jong, one of the most powerful individuals in the country, is seen holding a crystal ashtray.
Also seen on the platform is Ms. Hyon Song Wol, a North Korean ruling party elite and the leader of the famous Moranbong girl band handpicked by Ms. Kim Jong Un. Her inclusion in Mr. Kim's delegation has raised speculation that cultural events could be part of the agreements reached between Washington and Pyongyang this week as they look for easier steps to improve relations.
Mr. Kim arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday after a 70-hour train ride that cut through southern China. While it remains unclear why he chose to travel thousands of miles through China instead of flying into Hanoi, experts say he could have intended to showcase North Korea's ties with major ally China, a crucial leverage in his negotiations with Mr. Trump.
Mr.Kim, who has modeled his leadership style after his charismatic grandfather Mr. Kim Il Sung, also could have tried to inspire nostalgia among North Koreans about their state founder, who frequently traveled on trains.
Despite pushing an anti-smoking campaign in North Korea, Mr. Kim is frequently seen with a cigarette in his hands. In July 2017, North Korea's state broadcaster showed him casually smoking in front of one of his liquid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles as it underwent preparations for a test launch. State media also showed Mr. Kim and North Korean officials laughing and lighting up cigarettes following the success of the North's last ICBM test in November 2017.