Due to China’s strict border controls, it has been practically difficult for foreigners to enter the nation for the past three years, making US-based expert Scott Kennedy’s recent journey there all the more surprising.
What Happened: Visiting Beijing “felt more like Pyongyang” this time, Scott Kennedy, a senior adviser for Chinese Business and Economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Bloomberg in an interview.
Comparing his visit from three years ago, Kennedy added that the earlier city was more of an international one. Kennedy met government officials, business executives, journalists, and academics in China.
RELATED: Masks return in North Korea in renewed fight against COVID-19
Masks have apparently made their return in North Korea in October, with the country`s public health experts advising people to don facial protection to guard against the possible resurgence of COVID-19.The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), monitored in Seoul, on Sunday released photos of elderly people wearing masks while attending the previous day`s celebrations of the International Day of Older Persons.The Korean Central Television also showed footage of university students in masks in its report of the 76th founding anniversary of Kim ll-sung University.Elderly people of North Korea attend a celebration of the International Day of Older Persons in Pyongyang on Oct. 1, 2022, in this photo released by the North`s official Korean Central News Agency on Oct. 2, 2022. (Yonhap via The Korea Herald/Asia News Network)
“I say, only half-jokingly, that in 2019, I left a Beijing that was on its way toward being like London — and when I returned in September, it felt more like Pyongyang,” he said.
Why It’s Important: This comes after Beijing’s extreme border controls amid Xi’s zero-COVID policy for the past three years have made it harder for foreigners to get into the country.
Since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, North Korea closed its borders to all foreign tourists and cut off ties with the rest of the world to prevent the virus from spreading.
RELATED: Coronavirus: freight trains roll again between China and North Korea after 5 months on hold
Cross-border transport between the countries was suspended on April 29 when Dandong reported new wave of Covid-19 cases
The two countries resumed freight operations between ports after ‘friendly consultations’
Late last month, North Korea, which is also Pyongyang’s main commercial partner, restarted cross-border freight train operations with China.
Additionally, North Korea has transformed a former airport close to the Chinese border into a sizable quarantine facility, where incoming goods have been seen waiting for months in commercial satellite photography.
RELATED: Breaking Down North Korea’s COVID Strategy
The Kim Jong Un regime’s COVID-19 policies are enabling the government to re-indoctrinate a nation of people.
by: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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