North Korea Opens Travel Agency in Taiwan

Troy Young, July 23, 2018, 10:45 a.m.


North Korea is feverishly promoting tourism to the impoverished country now that international sanctions are starting to fray at the seams. The North has recently formed a joint-venture travel agency with China to promote package tours to the North in Taiwan.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun last Friday, a representative of the [North] Korean Heritage International Travel Company held a press conference in Taipei last Thursday to celebrate the opening of a branch there.

"Travel to North Korea is booming despite the continued UNSC sanctions," he said. "The number of Chinese tourists jumped from about 100 a day before May to about 1,000 a day now." The company is the first North Korean-Chinese joint-venture travel agency, owned 51-49 by the North Korean cultural bureau and a Chinese travel union. It is openly promoting package tours despite the UNSC's ban of any joint venture with the reclusive country since Jan. 9 this year.

The head of the company said, "It seems that China's regulations have been disappeared as the international environment has turned favorable since the North's summits with China and the U.S." "There is even a prospect of homestays with North Korean families from September," he added. This agency plans to open another branch in Australia.

Meanwhile, a visa-free market has been set up on the Chinese border to sell North Korean seafood to Chinese tourists although the trade is banned under UN Security Council sanctions. Radio Free Asia reported last Thursday that the market was set up as a sort of no man's land in Wonjong-ri, Rason this month.

The regime recently repaired an old bridge near the Wonjong Customs Office so that Chinese tourists can get across.

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