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First flight from North Korea in 3 years – cancelled

Posted 2023-08-21 10:14

File photo of an Air Koryo plane at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea.
File photo of an Air Koryo plane at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea.

It will be a symbolic reopening of North Korea, its first overseas trip in more than three years. But Monday’s flight from Pyongyang to Beijing failed.

Media and spectators gathered at the BCIA airport in the Chinese capital to welcome Air Koryo Flight JS151 from Pyongyang. Many have wanted to see North Korea’s first quarantined international air traveler since early 2020. But the scheduled 9:50 am landing time has come and gone.

It wasn’t until two hours later that the airport’s boards flashed an update: “Cancelled.” An explanation was not immediately available from North Korea’s state airline Air Koryo.

North Korea closed its borders early in the pandemic, and for a long time denied the presence of the coronavirus in the country. Even the land borders with China and Russia remain closed to ordinary travelers, but a certain amount of trade is now believed to be permitted.

And private trips began to appear. Last week, the Pyongyang regime sent a sports team to a taekwondo competition in Kazakhstan. According to South Korean media, they were allowed to cross the Chinese border by land, and then were able to travel to the tournament from there.

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