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China, North Korea poised to resume rail links as trade revives

CHINA is to resume rail freight service with North Korea, people familiar with the matter said, following a 15-month border closure due to Covid-19, as trade with the impoverished and isolated country begins to rebound, Reuters reports

26 April 2021 - 19:00
CHINA is to resume rail freight service with North Korea, people familiar with the matter said, following a 15-month border closure due to Covid-19, as trade with the impoverished and isolated country begins to rebound, Reuters reports.

The bridge linking the city of Dandong with Sinuiju, across the Yalu River in North Korea, will partially reopen to allow cargo train service 'sometime before or after May 1', the head of a transportation company handling cross-border trade told Reuters.



A China-based diplomat said that there appeared to be preparations to reopen the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge. North Korea is motivated to reopen its border to ease the economic burden of the lockdown, the diplomat said.



US government-funded Radio Free Asia cited unnamed sources saying a train carrying food aid left Dandong for North Korea recently. However, Reuters was unable to verify that report.



Freight cars marked in Korean - including the name of what appeared to be a location in North Korea - were visible at Dandong station, but it was not clear how long they had been there.



China's March exports to North Korea rose to a six-month high of US$13 million, nearly 400 times combined January-February shipments, according to Chinese data.



NK Pro, a website tracking North Korea, said ship traffic between the two countries had increased recently, and that satellite imagery shows North Korea may have built a disinfectant facility at an airport near the border.



Russia's ambassador to North Korea told Russia's TASS news agency that international aid has been stuck in warehouses on the Chinese side of the border, but North Korea's 'large disinfection complexes' would likely be completed by the end of April.


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