China, North Korea suspend rail line over virus spread

China facing economic challenges due to COVID-19, acknowledges top political forum.

China, North Korea suspend rail line over virus spread

Beijing on Friday confirmed that the rail line between China and North Korea has been suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the border province.

“In view of the current situation of the epidemic in Dandong, China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have decided to temporarily suspend the Dandong-Sinuiju port railway freight after friendly consultations,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao told a news conference in Beijing.

DPRK is the official name of North Korea.

Dandong is the largest border city in the northeastern region of China facing Sinuiju city of North Korea across the Yalu River which demarcates the Sino-North Korean border.

China is witnessing an unprecedented rise in daily COVID-19 cases with Shanghai being the worst hit where local authorities imposed a week-long lockdown.

Fearing a rise in local virus cases, the capital Beijing Friday ordered the suspension of all performance and entertainment venues, internet cafes, offline art training, and city group tours during the upcoming May Day holidays.

National Health Commission (NHC) of China said today the country reported 5,659 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10,029 new asymptomatic cases on Thursday.

The “Zero COVID” policy of China has hit hard the financial markets in the country with President Xi Jinping chairing a meeting of the Communist Party of China’s top forum, the Politburo, on Friday to review the state of economic affairs.

The Politburo stressed “coordination of anti-epidemic work and economic development, and urged officials at all levels to take responsibility in guarding against all kinds of ‘black swan’ and ‘grey rhino’ events amid risks linked to epidemic flare-ups and the Ukraine crisis,” Chinese daily Global Times reported.

It acknowledged that the Chinese economy is “facing growing complexities and uncertainties but stressed the importance of economic stability as well as securing and improving people's livelihood.”

The NHC said China has reported 214,243 confirmed cases, including 4,975 deaths, since December 2019 when the pandemic hit the country’s central Wuhan city.