China says many Chinese casualties in North Korea transport accident

Saul Bowman
April 23, 2018

Many Chinese visit North Korea as tourists, with the two countries sharing a border.

Footage on Chinese language state broadcaster CCTV confirmed the mangled wreckage of a bus at midnight with rain falling.

China was informed late Sunday of the accident and its embassy in Pyongyang dispatched personnel to the scene, the ministry said. Rescue autos had been on the scene, and injured had been proven being handled in hospital.

A tour bus has crashed in North Korea, killing 36 people including 32 Chinese nationals, Chinese officials say.

Chinese tourism to the North has continued even though Beijing has enforced a slew of United Nations sanctions over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

The region includes the city of Kaesong, known for its ancient neighborhoods, and home to a large inter-Korean industrial area, where South Korean factories employed North Korean workers.


Western visitors to the North once averaged around 5,000 a year, but numbers have been hit recently by a USA travel ban - Americans accounted for around 20 percent of the market - and official warnings from other countries.

The authorities are now checking the details of the accident, the document added.

North and South Korea are in the final stages of preparations for a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In at the border truce village of Panmunjom on Friday. About 80 percent of all North Korea's foreign tourists are Chinese, the Korea Maritime Institute estimates.

The bus was carrying a group of Chinese travel company staff from Beijing who were returning to Pyongyang after visiting Kaesong, unidentified sources in the travel industry told Seoul-based North Korea monitoring website NK News.

China said more than 237,000 Chinese visited in 2012, but stopped publishing the figures in 2013.

The North Korean road network remains mostly in a rudimentary state, roads are often potholed and many of them are dirt tracks rather than paved roads.

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