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N Korea at crossroads

North Korea prepares to resume trade with China

Pyongyang wary of COVID-19 but can't ignore crises at home

The Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge, the main trade route between China and North Korea, remains closed. (Photo by Shin Watanabe)

SEOUL/DALIAN, China -- North Korea is scrambling to resume land-based trade with China in hopes of a much-needed economic shot in the arm, having halted shipments from its northern neighbor well over a year ago to keep the coronavirus out.

The North is expanding quarantine facilities at a military airfield near the Chinese border, South Korean intelligence recently reported to National Assembly members. With large numbers of personnel deployed, North Korea aims to bring the facilities online this month, the South Korean lawmakers were told. The facilities are expected to hold goods delivered by rail for a certain period.

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