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Trade with DPRK resumes, nationals return to DPRK for mourning


08:56, December 22, 2011

DANDONG, Liaoning, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Trade between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and China's border city of Dandong gradually picked up after a short clearance closure on Tuesday, local customs official said.

Vessels carrying ironsand, a major good China imports from the DPRK,resumed operations Wednesday. The DPRK halted such operations after the death of the country's top leader Kim Jong Il was announced Monday.

A man surnamed Ma, manager of Dandong-based Hanhai International Cargo Agency, told Xinhua that China-registered trucks to the DPRK substantially decreased and DPRK-registered ones nearly came to a halt over the past three days.

Three fuel tankers with DPRK plates were seen driving into the Dandong customs building on Wednesday afternoon.

Food, daily necessities and building materials are China's major export goods to the DPRK, Ma said, adding that trade was expected to return to normal next week.

Port police strolled idly at the checkpoint on the China-DPRK Friendship Bridge, the only land route linking Dandong and the DPRK's city of Sinuiju. A few freight carriers crossed the bridge, but most vehicles crossing the border were passenger cars full of people heading to the DPRK.

Many DPRK nationals rushed back to their home country to mourn the death of King Jong Il, but others remained in Dandong to express their condolences.

Flowers sold well in stalls temporarily positioned near the customs building. A bunch of white chrysanthemums cost 70 yuan (about 11 U.S. dollars). Both DPRK nationals and Chinese nationals bought bouquets and sent them to the DPRK's consulate office in Dandong.

Meanwhile, travel agencies in Dandong suspended DPRK travel services. A manager surnamed Wang said such services would not be open to the public until Jan. 20.

The vast majority of DPRK-themed restaurants were also closed. Although Korean song and dance performances used to be the major Christmas events in Dandong, all of them have been canceled.

Lighting along the China-DPRK Friendship Bridge has been blacked out in the evenings out of respect for the mourning of the people of the DPRK.

Kim Jong Il, who was general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission and supreme commander of the Korean People's Army, died from "great mental and physical strain" on Dec. 17.

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