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China reopens rail freight traffic with North Korea

January 17, 2022 GMT
FILE - In this May 24, 2018, file photo, trucks cross the friendship bridge connecting China and North Korea in the Chinese border town of Dandong, opposite side of the North Korean town of Sinuiju. China has restored railway freight traffic with North Korea that had been suspended over pandemic infection concerns, the Foreign Ministry said Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (Chinatopix via AP, File)
FILE - In this May 24, 2018, file photo, trucks cross the friendship bridge connecting China and North Korea in the Chinese border town of Dandong, opposite side of the North Korean town of Sinuiju. China has restored railway freight traffic with North Korea that had been suspended over pandemic infection concerns, the Foreign Ministry said Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (Chinatopix via AP, File)
FILE - In this May 24, 2018, file photo, trucks cross the friendship bridge connecting China and North Korea in the Chinese border town of Dandong, opposite side of the North Korean town of Sinuiju. China has restored railway freight traffic with North Korea that had been suspended over pandemic infection concerns, the Foreign Ministry said Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (Chinatopix via AP, File)

BEIJING (AP) — China has restored railway freight traffic with North Korea that had been suspended over pandemic concerns, its foreign ministry said Monday.

Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the connection across the Yalu River between China’s Dandong and Sinuiju in North Korea had been restored after “friendly consultation between the two sides.”

Zhao said normal trade would be maintained while pandemic controls stay in place, but gave no other details.

Already under United Nations and U.S. sanctions, North Korea has closed its borders to prevent COVID-19 infections placing its fragile health care system under further stress.

With little information coming out of the hardline communist state, it’s unclear how much it has suffered from the pandemic.

China remains the North’s main ally and source of economic aid, despite signing on to sanctions imposed over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

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North Korea fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea Monday in its fourth weapons launch this month, apparently to demonstrate its military might amid paused diplomacy with the United States and pandemic border closures.

Zhao did not respond directly to a question about the launch, but said China called on all sides to “keep in mind the overall situation of peace and stability on the peninsula ... and work together to advance the political settlement on the peninsular issue.”