|Portions of the China-North Korea border remain porous. A Chinese guard watched as two men crossed into North Korea at Onsong. (File photo by=Du Bin for The New York Times)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] SEOUL: Seoul's unification ministry announced on Monday that North Korea has yet to reopen its land border with China amid indications of brisk preparations to ease lockdown measures attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Korea has been closely monitoring signs of the North reopening its border, which has remained closed for nearly two years due to the virus crisis. "Signs of preparations to resume trade have been continuously detected, but it's not at a stage to say trade has resumed or the North Korea-China border lockdown has been lifted," ministry spokesperson Lee Jong-joo told a regular press briefing. Previously this month, local media broadcast footage of a train crossing the bridge over the Amnok River connecting Sinuiju in North Korea to the Chinese port city of Dandong. "We are monitoring the situation attentively, as the North's easing of border lockdown would result in better environment for cooperation between the two Koreas or with the international community," Lee said.
Meanwhile, South Korea and the United States are coordinating humanitarian assistance to North Korea, though Pyongyang has remained unresponsive to Washington's dialogue overtures. During Monday's briefing, Lee expressed disappointment over little progress in inter-Korean talks as Pyongyang stays silent on Seoul's proposal to set up a virtual conference system for dialogue.