North Korea Welcomes Returning Citizens

WAIT Ends - Citizens Can RETURN

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State media reports that, after an absence of nearly four years, North Korean residents who had been overseas since the commencement of the Covid-19 pandemic are now permitted to come back to their homeland. The North Korean State Emergency Epidemic Prevention Headquarters has announced that these returning individuals will undergo a seven-day medical quarantine for monitoring purposes before they are granted permission to rejoin the public sphere.

Most of the individuals who found themselves stranded abroad hailed from North Korea’s labor force in Russia and China, which serves as a crucial revenue stream for the notably secluded nation. Furthermore, students pursuing education overseas have been grappling with these limitations since January 2020, necessitating them to secure lodgings outside their homeland.

In what many have described as the most stringent measures during the pandemic, tourists and foreign diplomats were expelled and prevented from returning since the pandemic’s onset. It’s noteworthy that even China, the country where the virus initially emerged, relaxed its extremely rigorous “zero tolerance” Covid restrictions at the close of 2022.

In August 2022, North Korea asserted that it had successfully dealt with the pandemic, a claim that drew skepticism from experts. Subsequently, in September 2022, North Korea reinstated its freight train service with China to facilitate trade, although it remained steadfast in its refusal to permit individuals to cross the border.

A noteworthy development signaling the reopening of the isolated nation was the departure of the first international flight from North Korea since January 2020, which arrived in China in late August. Additionally, North Korea is set to recommence regular flights between Russia and itself in the near future.

Sports team restrictions have also seen relaxation, with North Korea dispatching around 100 athletes to participate in the 22nd International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) World Championship taking place this month in Kazakhstan. Notably, this marks the first instance of North Korean athletes being granted permission to journey abroad since early 2020.

While experts hold the view that North Korea is unlikely to open its doors to foreign tourists in the immediate future, it is anticipated that if the return of its overseas nationals proceeds smoothly, tourism may be permitted to resume at some point in the coming year.

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