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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

China orders travel agencies to suspend tours to North Korea from Nov. 8

By Yasunobu Shirouchi in Beijing


From Nov. 8 travel agencies in Dandong, Liaoning Province, on China’s border with North Korea, suddenly suspended overnight trips to North Korea by order of the Chinese authorities, according to several travel agents in Dandong. It is possible that the Chinese government is trying to remove unnecessary sources of friction with the U.S. in light of President Donald Trump’s visit to China.


According to an official of a major travel agency in Dandong, the Dandong Tourism Bureau, which administers and supervises the travel industry in the city, issued an unofficial instruction to local travel agents to suspend sightseeing tours to Pyongyang and other places in North Korea that last for four days and three nights or longer. On the other hand, solicitation of tourists for day trips to Sinuiju on the other side of the Yalu River from Dandong was allowed.


This official was irked that “no explanation on the specific reason for the suspension was given and the duration of the suspension of sightseeing tours is unclear.” He reckoned that this measure will continue “at least until the end of November.”


Another travel agent said: “We have no idea when the tours can resume. However, we are entering the off season, so no major impact is expected.”


Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying denied any such measure at her news conference on Nov. 8, stating: “We queried the responsible offices, but they had no information on the situation.”


Dandong is the top Chinese city involved in trade with North Korea, and tours to the DPRK are one of its attractions. Most Chinese tourists leave from Dandong for tours in the DPRK. (Slightly abridged)

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