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

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

As Covid instances surged in China, social media posts misleadingly claimed that North Korea joined a string of countries in announcing vacation restrictions on guests from the world’s most populous place. The posts in reality share outdated vacation suggestions from the Chinese foreign ministry from January 2020, when Pyongyang suspended travel with China in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak.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 change to that coverage, as of January 2023. Travel organizations running in North Korea said that entry to the secretive nation was banned for all website visitors, not just Chinese nationals.

“Just after China lifted its entry and exit constraints, North Korea straight away banned Chinese people from moving into 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 region.”

The tweet displays a screenshot of a journey advisory that states: “North Korea / Chinese nationals are temporarily prohibited from moving into the region, and all latest arrivals, together with North Koreans, will be matter to a 30-day quarantine and observation period.”

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

Extra than a dozen nations, together with the United States, Canada and India, announced vacation limits on arrivals from China pursuing Beijing’s determination to carry years of lockdowns, quarantines and mass tests.

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

The vacation advisory was shared in comparable posts on Facebook, Twitter and Chinese platforms Douyin, Weibo and China Gate.

A variety of Chinese-language information outlets also misleadingly claimed that North Korea experienced issued a clean ban on Chinese readers following the Covid surge, which includes here and here.

Previous travel information

Key word queries of the vacation advisory identified the identical text in a document on China’s National Immigration Administration’s web page.

While the document does not function a publication date, the very same travel assistance was posted in a Chinese foreign ministry assertion on January 30, 2020.

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

Screenshot of the vacation information revealed by the Chinese foreign ministry on January 30, 2020

North Korea watchers reported that Pyongyang’s ban on Chinese travellers — as effectively as arrivals from all other international locations — was nonetheless in power in January 2023.

Dean J. Ouellette, vice director at the Kyungnam University Institute for Considerably Jap Reports in South Korea verified that North Korea closed its borders to intercontinental arrivals, including its individual citizens living abroad, from January 2020.

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

Travel agencies that run in North Korea claimed that its borders remained shut to all.

“The present coverage is that no 1 is authorized to enter the state,” an official at China-based mostly Younger Pioneer Tours told AFP on January 4.

A consultant for Koryo Tours, another Pyongyang-permitted China-based travel agency, also dismissed the assert circulating on social media.

“North Korea has been shut to all entrants, which includes [North] Koreans, given that January 2020,” the spokesperson told AFP on January 4.

“This [claim] is irrelevant as nobody can enter the state in any case.”

Nam Sung-wook, a professor at Korea University’s department of Korean unification, diplomacy and security, mentioned there were exceptions to North Korea’s journey ban, these as for “a couple Chinese drivers” who were being allowed to enter the place for organization applications.

North Korea reportedly resumed trade with China in June 2020.

However, Nam explained to AFP on January 6 that Pyongyang’s ban on international arrivals was however in drive.