June 21, 2018 / 6:35 AM / 5 months ago

China to allow North Korea airline to fly between Xi'an and Pyongyang: media

FILE PHOTO: Passengers board an Air Koryo Antonov An-148-100B aircraft at the airport in Pyongyang, North Korea April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will allow North Korea’s Air Koryo to offer flights between Xi’an and Pyongyang from July, the state-run Xi’an Evening News reported on Thursday, citing the central Chinese city’s tourism authority.

This would make Xi’an the fifth Chinese city with an air link to the North Korean capital after Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai and Chengdu, the newspaper said.

Several tour agencies in Xi’an, home to China’s famed Terracotta Army of life-sized sculptures, planned to develop tourism products for North Koreans, the paper said.

There were charter flights from Xi’an to Pyongyang about eight years ago and “the response was strong,” the newspaper said, without specifying the operators.

“The opening of this route would make travel between Xi’an and Pyongyang easy and efficient and further satisfy the enthusiasm of Xi’an citizens for holidays in North Korea,” the newspaper said.

Relations between the two countries have warmed lately with Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un holding three meetings in China since March.

Kim concluded a visit to Beijing on Wednesday where he briefed Xi on his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore last week.

China’s flag carrier Air China resumed regular flights between Beijing and Pyongyang on June 6 after a suspension lasting more than six months.

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Darren Schuettler

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