Pyongyang, Dec. 9 (ANI): North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has a network of underground tunnels - containing railway lines, a water supply and even vegetation - to help him escape Pyongyang in an emergency situation.
According to Hwang Jang Yop, former chief political philosopher of North Korea, the tunnels, 300 metres (980ft) underground in some places, connect Pyongyang with areas as far as 30 miles (48km), enabling the country's leaders to escape the capital and sail to China from a west coast port.
"There was fresh water and grass growing within an underground tunnel that linked Pyongyang to a nearby mountain. In particular, an ultra-deep underground tunnel was built to connect one of Kim's residences in Pyongyang to [the port city of] Nampo," The Times quoted Hwang, as saying.
Hwang told US-aided Radio Free Asia that the tunnels connected to Yeongwon, where Kim Il Sung, Kim's father and North Korea's founding leader, died of a heart attack in 1994, and to Suncheon, north of Pyongyang, which is reported to be the site of a uranium mine.
After suffering intense American bombing raids during the 1950-53 Korean War, North Korea has hidden many of its military assets in vast, underground bases, which include missile silos, aircraft hangars and naval ports, according to the South Korean Government and US military.
The Korea Institute for Defence Analyses based in Seoul says the North has about 8,000 underground military facilities.
Pyongyang's civilian subway system is itself 150m (490ft) deep, no doubt because it was intended to double as a civilian bomb shelter in the event of a war.
In the 1970s Pyongyang constructed infiltration tunnels into South Korea beneath the heavily defended border intended as a conduit for the spies and commandos of an underground invasion force.
Twenty of these tunnels have been discovered and sealed off, and; two of them serve as tourist attractions for curious coach parties. (ANI)