Chinese tourists killed in North Korea bus crash | News | DW | 23.04.2018
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Chinese tourists killed in North Korea bus crash

A team of Chinese medical experts has been deployed to North Korea following the bus crash which left 36 people dead. An investigation is underway to find out why the bus fell off a bridge.

The 32 Chinese tourists and four North Koreans died in a "major traffic accident” in North Korea, China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday. China's state broadcaster said a bus fell from a bridge south of the capital Pyongyang on Sunday night.

The Chinese Health Ministry is sending a team of medical experts along with equipment and medication to North Korea to "to assist with the emergency rescue and treatment operations."

In addition to the 32 Chinese fatalities, two Chinese nationals are believed to be in critical condition in hospital. 

State television showed images of a crashed blue bus with its wheels in the air, in footage that had been recorded in pouring rain in the dark.

The road runs to the border with South Korea and passes the ancient city of Kaesong.

Read more: North and South Korea 'suspicious' of China

Strong ties

China and North Korea share a long border.China is North Korea's main political ally and has been its largest trading partner.

But China has enforced United Nations sanctions over Pyongyang' nuclear programs and in the first three months of this year, figures issued on Monday showed imports from North Korea had dropped 87 percent while exports fell 46 percent. 

About 80 percent of all foreign tourists to North Korea are Chinese, according to South Korean think-tank the Korea Maritime Institute. It estimates that tourism brings about $44 million (€35.8 million) each year in revenue for the country.

More than 237,000 Chinese visited North Korea in 2012, according to official Chinese figures, but no numbers have been published since 2013.

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law/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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