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North Korea allowed foreigners to enter for the first time since 2020

North Korea is opening its borders for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, unveiling a source of revenue, Bloomberg reports.

North Korea has announced that foreigners will be able to enter the country from Monday, according to a report by China’s state broadcaster CCTV. However, all visitors will have to undergo a two-day quarantine, although this was not mentioned in North Korea’s state media.

Kim Jong Un’s administration is gradually easing border restrictions imposed about four years ago, allowing diplomats from China and Russia to visit the country in July and then sending commercial planes to Beijing and Vladivostok in August to return diplomats, students and workers who were stranded abroad because of the restrictions.

Chinese tourists used to be an important source of income for North Korea. They helped the country make transactions abroad, even though Pyongyang remained cut off from international banks.

The decision to close the borders has hit trade, already suffering from severe sanctions. The Bank of Korea in Seoul estimated that the isolation led to a contraction of economy, which became smaller that a decade ago when Kim came to power.

A probable resumption of trade relations with China, Pyongyang’s largest partner, suggests that the North Korean economy has returned to growth after two years of decline. However, Fitch Solutions believes that significant uncertainty still remains.

North Korea has rejected international assistance with vaccination, which could increase the risks of overloading its outdated medical systems due to a massive outbreak of the virus.

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