N. Korea and China agree to resume train service in late November
North Korea and China have recently agreed to resume international train service, which was suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A source told Daily NK that the two sides also agreed on a plan to permit Chinese tourists to enter certain areas of North Korea on a limited basis.
A source in China told Daily NK on Sunday that the North Korean and Chinese authorities had recently agreed to restart international train service from Nov. 30, and that “along with train service, they also agreed [for North Korea] to accept Chinese tourists.”
North Korea suspended international train service and stopped admitting foreigners in January to prevent COVID-19 from entering the country. The news suggests that behind-the-scenes negotiations to restart train service and tourism had resulted in at least some agreement between the two sides.
“The agreement to restart train service was first proposed by China,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It’s an expedient to help North Korea without [China] having to give [North Korea] state funds.”
The source explained that China is trying to assist North Korea through private-sector tourism because Beijing must avoid “officially supporting” the country due to UN sanctions.
The move may also be aimed at strengthening China’s good relationship with North Korea. With tensions high between China and the US over trade, Beijing seems to be actively working to improve its relationship with Pyongyang to use North Korea as leverage. ......