AFP’s first commercial flight from North Korea since early 2020 was unexpectedly cancelled.
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 16:31
For three years, North Korea kept its borders completely closed due to covid, but Pyongyang finally seems to be becoming a little more flexible again. Today, the first international flight from the country was supposed to land in Beijing, but two hours after the expected arrival time, signs at the airport of the Chinese capital showed that the flight had been cancelled.
It is unknown why the flight was cancelled. Customer service at Beijing airport told AFP news agency that the North Korean airline had not given a reason.
Locked down for three years
International traffic to and from North Korea was already extremely limited, but in early 2020 the country completely closed its borders to contain the spread of covid. It has never been known how badly North Korea was affected by the virus. The health care system in the country is in a bad state and the vast majority of the population was probably unable to get vaccinated.
In recent weeks, North Korea appears to be easing its border policy somewhat. Last month, a military parade saw Chinese and Russian delegates present for the first time in three years. Earlier this week, a group of North Korean Taekwondo athletes flew to Kazakhstan via Beijing to take part in an international competition.
According to the independent news medium NK news, two commercial flights will depart from the Russian city of Vladivostok to Pyongyang later this week.