Update at 1500 KST: The article and headline has been amended to reflect comments by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). It was further updated at 1715 KST to include further comments by the ministry.
A tour bus crash in North Korea last night lead to “heavy casualties,” a report carried by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Monday.
In a statement, Beijing’s embassy in the DPRK said the accident had taken place in North Hwanghae Province on Sunday.
“The Chinese Embassy in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea received a report from North Hwanghae Province, North Korea, that a serious traffic accident had occurred that night, resulting in heavy casualties among Chinese tourists…” the statement read.
“Relevant details are currently being verified,” it continued. “The Working Group of the Chinese Embassy in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, accompanied by the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, rushed to the scene of the incident.”
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has activated the emergency mechanism overnight and is fully engaged in the disposal work.”
Chinese MFA spokesperson Lu Kang later on Monday reported that 32 Chinese nationals and four North Koreans were killed in the accident, adding that an additional two PRC citizens were in “a critical condition due to serious injury.”
“We express our condolences to the deceased compatriots and North Koreans and to offer our heartfelt sympathies to the families of the dead and the injured,” Lu said in a statement carried by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. “The DPRK attaches great importance to the issue, and all relevant departments have actively cooperated with the Chinese side in making all-out efforts to carry out rescue, rehabilitation, and accident investigation.”
“The Chinese side will maintain close communication and coordination with the DPRK, and make every effort to do a good job in the follow-up work.”
Chinese state news agency CGTN in a tweet earlier on Monday reported that the fatal accident had been caused by the bus coming off a bridge and that 30 had died, though the tweet was later deleted. DPRK state media is yet to report on the accident.
But travel industry sources told NK News that the vehicle had been carrying a group of Chinese travel company staff from Beijing, with one source in China saying the crash took place as the bus returned to Pyongyang from the southern city of Kaesong.
In addition, the highway between Kaesong and Pyongyang is currently undergoing extensive renovation works, multiple sources told NK News during the last week, in preparation for Friday’s summit between Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in.
Weather conditions may have played a role, with the Korean peninsula seeing heavy rain and wind on Sunday.
The group involved in the accident had flown in from Shenyang, China, sources said.
In addition, an in-country source told NK News that they had seen two ambulances with sirens on at 2200 in Pyongyang, “which is rare.”
Another source based in North Korea also said the road between Pyongyang-Sariwon is currently fully closed, which connects onwards to Kaesong in the south.
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) April 23, 2018
Chinese state media aired footage of the aftermath of the incident
Featured image: NK News
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 558 words of this article.