North Korea’s airline, Air Koryo, which was due to make its first commercial outing from the country in more than three years on Monday, canceled its flight at the last minute.
North Korea was the first country to seal its borders in 2020, when neighboring China saw the first cases of a mysterious virus that would cause the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pyongyang has since kept its borders closed, with rare exceptions.
An Air Koryo flight, originally expected in Beijing at 9:50 a.m. (01:50 GMT) on Monday morning, was unexpectedly announced as “cancelled” after two hours of delay, AFP found.
Several media were watching for the arrival of this flight which would have been for North Korea its very first commercial link with foreign countries since 2020.
Air Koryo gave no explanation for this cancellation, Beijing-capital airport told AFP.
The company could not be reached immediately, while its offices in central Beijing were closed.
Brochures in Korean and English were visible there.
An employee of the building where Air Koryo is located told AFP that staff only go there from time to time.
After three years of isolation due to Covid, the signs of a possible reopening of the North Korean borders are increasing.
Last month, Russian and Chinese officials attended a military parade in Pyongyang, the first foreigners allowed to visit North Korea in years.
North Korea also sent athletes from China last week to a taekwondo competition in Kazakhstan.
No athlete representing North Korea has been seen competing overseas since the start of the pandemic.
“There are signs for a reopening of the borders by North Korea”, commented in Seoul for AFP the South Korean ministry of Unification.
“But it is still difficult (at this stage) to determine whether the reopening will be total or gradual and limited.”
According to the site specializing in North Korea NK News, Air Koryo must carry out two flights in the coming days between Vladivostok (Russia) and Pyongyang.