China set to allow North Korea’s state airline to fly between Xian and Pyongyang, report says
Move comes amid warming ties between Communist neighbours
China will allow North Korea’s Air Koryo to offer flights between Xian and Pyongyang from next month, a local newspaper reported, citing the Chinese city’s tourism authority.
The move would make Xian, capital of northwestern Shaanxi province, the fifth Chinese city with an air link to the North Korean capital, after Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai and Chengdu, state-run Xian Evening News reported on Thursday.
Several tour agencies in Xian, which is home to China’s world famous terracotta army of life-size sculptures, are planning tourism products for North Koreans, the report said.
There were charter flights from Xian to Pyongyang about eight years ago and “the response was strong”, it said, without specifying the operators.
“The opening of this route would make travel between Xian and Pyongyang easy and efficient, and further satisfy the enthusiasm of Xian citizens for holidays in North Korea,” it said.
Relations between the two countries have warmed lately with Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un holding three meetings in China since March.
Kim concluded his latest trip to Beijing on Wednesday where he briefed Xi on his summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore last week.
China’s flag carrier Air China resumed regular flights between Beijing and Pyongyang on June 6 after a suspension lasting more than six months.