Seoul says North Korea, China reopen freight train traffic

Sep 25, 2022, 9:37 AM | Updated: Sep 26, 2022, 2:03 am
A freight train crosses a bridge connecting China and North Korea in Dandong in northeastern China'...

A freight train crosses a bridge connecting China and North Korea in Dandong in northeastern China's Liaoning province, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. North Korea and China resumed freight train service Monday following a five-month hiatus, South Korean officials said, as the North struggles to revive an economy battered by the pandemic, U.N. sanctions and other factors. (Park Jong-kuk/Yonhap via AP)

(Park Jong-kuk/Yonhap via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea and China resumed freight train service Monday following a five-month hiatus, South Korean officials said, as the North struggles to revive an economy battered by the pandemic, U.N. sanctions and other factors.

The reopening came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month made a dubious claim to have overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and ordered an easing of the restrictions guarding against the spread of the coronavirus.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles relations with North Korea, said it assessed the North Korea-China freight railway service restarted Monday. Spokesperson Cho Joonghoon said how long the train service would last and what goods would be transferred would remain to be seen.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin later told a regular briefing that China and North Korea had agreed to resume cross-border freight transport between two of their border cities “according to border-related treaties and through friendly consultation.” North Korea’s state media didn’t immediately confirm the reopening.

Earlier Monday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said it has seen a freight train with more than 10 cars leaving the Chinese border city of Dandong and crossing a railway bridge into North Korea’s Sinuiju city.

Kim Jong Un likely wants to import consumer goods, materials needed to build residences in Pyongyang and modernize factories in rural areas, and other items related to his hope to improve public livelihoods, said Lim Eul-chul, a professor at Kyungnam University’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul.

Lim said the Dandong- Sinuiju railroad has handled more than 70% of official trade between the two countries. There are no reports that other cross-border railway or truck transport routes have been reopened.

“The two sides will continue to strengthen coordination to ensure the steady and secure transport of goods and make further contributions to friendly relations between China and (North Korea),” Wang, the Chinese spokesperson, said.

In April, China said it had halted the Dandong- Sinuiju freight train traffic amid the spread of the COVID-19 in Dandong. Earlier in January, the two countries reopened the railway link following two years of suspension while North Korea closed all its international borders as part of the world’s harshest restrictions to guard against the pandemic.

China, which shares a porous border with North Korea, is the North’s economic pipeline and last major diplomatic ally. More than 90% of North Korea’s external trade has been with China. The nosedive in trade volume between them during the pandemic was believed to have caused a further strain on the North’s fragile economy, which has also been hit by the sanctions, natural disasters and Kim’s own mismanagement.

Kim’s claim to have beaten the pandemic came only three months after his country first admitted an outbreak following a highly disputed claim to be coronavirus-free for more than two years.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

murders...
Associated Press

Appeals court upholds most Eyman campaign finance violations

A Washington state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld most of the campaign finance violations that longtime anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman was found liable for last year.
18 hours ago
A Washington State Department of Agriculture worker displays an Asian giant hornet taken from a nes...
Associated Press

No northern giant hornets found in 2022 in Washington state

Citizen trapping of northern giant hornets in northwest Washington ended Nov. 30 without any confirmed sightings of the hornets this year, state officials said Tuesday.
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Deep, 5.8 magnitude quake shakes Indonesia’s capital

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A strong and deep earthquake shook Indonesia’s capital and other parts of the main island Java on Thursday but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties. High-rises in Jakarta, the capital, swayed for several seconds and some ordered evacuations. The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.8 magnitude earthquake […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Military personnel watch as Air Force One, with President Donald Trump, aboard prepares to d...
Associated Press

Boeing’s last 747 to roll out of Washington state factory

SEATTLE (AP) — After more than half a century, the last Boeing 747 rolled out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday. The 747 jumbo jet has taken on numerous roles — a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, and the Air Force One presidential aircraft — since it debuted […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Jailed, former Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina attends his pre-trial hearing for alle...
Associated Press

Guatemalan court convicts ex-president of fraud, conspiracy

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A court in Guatemala convicted former President Otto Pérez Molina and his vice president, Roxana Baldetti, on fraud and conspiracy counts Wednesday. Their sentences have yet to be announced. Both were acquitted of illegal enrichment charges. Pérez Molina and Baldetti resigned in 2015 and have been in custody on charges of […]
18 hours ago
Hywind Scotland, the world's first commercial wind farm using floating wind turbines, is visible of...
Associated Press

1st US floating offshore wind auction nets $757M in bids

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The first-ever U.S. auction of leases to develop commercial-scale floating wind farms in the deep waters off the West Coast attracted $757 million in winning bids Wednesday from mostly European companies, in a project watched by other regions and countries just getting their own plans for floating offshore wind started. The […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Seoul says North Korea, China reopen freight train traffic