February 2, 2023

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Old travel advice misleadingly shared as North Korea ‘ban’ on Chinese nationals amid Covid crisis

As Covid cases surged in China, social media posts misleadingly claimed that North Korea joined a string of nations around the world in announcing journey constraints on visitors from the world’s most populous place. The posts in fact share previous travel assistance from the Chinese foreign ministry from January 2020, when Pyongyang suspended travel with China in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak. North Korea watchers mentioned there had been no alter to that plan, as of January 2023. Travel businesses functioning in North Korea said that entry to the secretive country was banned for all site visitors, not just Chinese nationals.

“Right after China lifted its entry and exit constraints, North Korea straight away banned Chinese persons from entering the country,” reads a simplified Chinese-language tweet posted on December 28.

“Even North Koreans in China have to quarantine for 30 times when they return to the nation.”

The tweet shows a screenshot of a travel advisory that states: “North Korea / Chinese nationals are briefly prohibited from entering the region, and all latest arrivals, including North Koreans, will be subject to a 30-working day quarantine and observation period of time.”

Screenshot of the misleading tweet, taken on January 10, 2023.

Much more than a dozen nations, together with the United States, Canada and India, announced travel limits on arrivals from China subsequent Beijing’s decision to carry a long time of lockdowns, quarantines and mass tests.

Hospitals throughout China have been confused by an explosion of infections subsequent the scrapping of its “zero-Covid” plan, which mostly stored the virus at bay but tanked the economy and sparked prevalent protests.

The travel advisory was shared in very similar posts on Fb, Twitter and Chinese platforms Douyin, Weibo and China Gate.

Many Chinese-language information outlets also misleadingly claimed that North Korea experienced issued a refreshing ban on Chinese site visitors adhering to the Covid surge, such as right here and below.

Old journey suggestions

Key phrase searches of the vacation advisory uncovered the equivalent text in a doc on China’s Nationwide Immigration Administration’s site.

Even though the doc does not characteristic a publication date, the very same journey assistance was revealed in a Chinese international ministry statement on January 30, 2020.

The ministry’s announcement arrived following North Korea reportedly suspended all flights and trains in and out of the state in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Screenshot of the vacation tips released by the Chinese foreign ministry on January 30, 2020

North Korea watchers said that Pyongyang’s ban on Chinese travellers — as well as arrivals from all other countries — was nevertheless in force in January 2023.

Dean J. Ouellette, vice director at the Kyungnam University Institute for Much Japanese Scientific studies in South Korea confirmed that North Korea shut its borders to international arrivals, such as its have citizens dwelling overseas, from January 2020.

As of January 2023, the British international ministry’s travel suggestions to North Korea claims: “All air and educate routes into and out of North Korea are briefly suspended as of 31 January 2020.”

Vacation businesses that work in North Korea stated that its borders remained closed to all.

“The latest plan is that no a single is permitted to enter the country,” an formal at China-primarily based Youthful Pioneer Excursions informed AFP on January 4.

A consultant for Koryo Tours, a further Pyongyang-permitted China-based mostly journey agency, also dismissed the declare circulating on social media.

“North Korea has been closed to all entrants, such as [North] Koreans, considering that January 2020,” the spokesperson instructed AFP on January 4.

“This [claim] is irrelevant as no one can enter the place in any case.”

Nam Sung-wook, a professor at Korea University’s section of Korean unification, diplomacy and security, mentioned there had been exceptions to North Korea’s travel ban, these kinds of as for “a couple Chinese drivers” who were permitted to enter the country for business reasons.

North Korea reportedly resumed trade with China in June 2020.

Nonetheless, Nam advised AFP on January 6 that Pyongyang’s ban on worldwide arrivals was continue to in power.