A North Korean cargo train has reportedly pulled into a Chinese border town in what would be the first confirmed crossing since its anti-coronavirus border lockdowns began.
North Korea has not officially reported any Covid-19 cases and has imposed strict anti-virus measures, including border closures and domestic travel curbs since the pandemic began in early 2020.
A North Korean freight train crossed the Yalu River railway bridge to arrive in the Chinese town of Dandong on Sunday, the South Korean news agency Yonhap said, citing multiple unnamed sources.
Yonhap said this marks the first time during the pandemic that North Korea has formally opened its land border with porcelana.
It was unclear whether the train was carrying any cargo into China, but was likely to return to North Korea on Monday with a load of “emergency materials”, the sources told Yonhap.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency also reported the train’s arrival.
While Chinese data show some limited trade has continued, most shipments appear to be using North Korean seaports, not trains across its land borders.
Officials in Seoul said late last year they were watching closely for a resumption in cross-border rail traffic as a signal that restrictions might be loosening.
After nearly two years of border closures, some humanitarian aid is trickling into the country, though shipments of key supplies including food remain blocked, according to United Nations organisations.
Several shipments of nutrition and medical aid have entered the country after up to three months of quarantine at Nampo seaport, but there had been no confirmation of major shipments being transported by train.