N. Korean cargo train departs Chinese city of Dandong to return home: sources

SHENYANG, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) — A North Korean freight train that crossed a border bridge into China over the weekend departed the Chinese city of Dandong on Monday to return home, sources said, amid a prospect the two sides could resume land transactions in earnest following the North’s prolonged border lockdown.

The train departed the Chinese border city at around 7 a.m. to return to Sinuiju, they said.

It was not immediately clear what the train carried, but the sources said daily necessities, medical supplies and other emergency relief items could have been on board.

The train had arrived in Dandong the previous day, marking the first such train operation in a year and a half after the North shut down its borders to stave off the COVID-19 pandemic.

The train service came ahead of such key events as the Lunar New Year, which falls on Feb. 1 this year, the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics on Feb. 4 and the Feb. 16 birthday of Kim Jong-il, the late father of the current leader, Kim Jong-un.

South Korean sources said the North could continue shipping necessary materials from China via land routes starting with the latest train operation.

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