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China halts freight trains to North Korea after Covid spike in the border town

China halts freight trains to North Korea after Covid spike in border town

China has suspended freight trains to North Korea, in a bid to contain Covid-19 in the border town of Dandong. 

In tune with its zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19, the Chinese have already brought Dandong  under strict lockdown.

But its controversial offensive against Coronavirus has gone to a new level—of stopping freight trains from the town to Sinuiju, a North Korean town.   
On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the decision to halt freight services was taken “in light of the current epidemic situation in Dandong.”

The Dandong city government on Monday ordered all residents to swiftly return home and stay there to stem the spread of the virus.

Unlike many other countries, which are steadily dropping travel and other restrictions, the Chinese are combating Covid-19 with a  combination of lockdowns, mass testing and closing down of borders
China’s decision is likely to badly hurt an already fragile economy of North Korea—a country that is on edge and showing fresh signs of moving towards weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.  Pyongyang recently tested an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), the first long range test since 2017.

Industrial production is down and construction materials to back leader Kim Jong Un’s ambitious development plans are likely to take a big hit.

Also Read: North Korean ICBM test invites US sanctions, brings Japan and South Korea closer.