Isolation Escalates As Chinese Airline Ends Flights To North Korea

It's barely been a day since President Donald Trump revealed that the US would once again label North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism and impose broad new sanctions against its government and senior officials, and already more bad news for the restive communist state has emerged. This time, the Associated Press is reporting that Air China, a state owned airline, is canceling flights to North Korea, leaving the North's troubled Air Koryo as the only airline operating flights between North Korea and its primary economic benefactor.

Flights were “temporarily suspended due to unsatisfactory business operations,” said an employee of Air China’s press office who would give only his surname, Zhang, according to the AP. The suspension was blamed on falling demand for the routes. A foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said he hadn’t heard about Air China’s cancellation. He said such decisions would be made based on the “state of operation and the market.”

Beijing has supported UN sanctions on North Korean exports meant to pressure the government of leader Kim Jong Un to drop its pursuit of nuclear and missile technology, but China has argued against measures that would harm ordinary North Koreans.

Since mid-summer, the UN Security Council has passed two rounds of sanctions (with China's approval) that impose strict limitations on exports of North Korean seafood, coal and other raw materials. And Trump said the Treasury will outline more restrictions to be imposed against the North and senior government officials in the coming weeks. Since Air China is state-owned, the cancellation of the routes received at least tacit government approval. But since the sanctions have choked off much of the North's legitimate economy, it's possible the routes were eliminated to prevent the airline from losing money, forcing the government to intervene with subsidies. Back in September, China kicked out North Korean businessmen and instructed its banks not to do business with North Koreans or North Korean-owned businesses.

To be sure, Airlines have been rolling back flights to North Korea for months.

Airlines have steadily reduced the frequency of flights to North Korea as mounting political tensions depressed the already small number of business travelers and tourists visiting the North.


Air China Ltd. announced in April it was cutting the frequency of flights to North Korea due to lack of demand. Some other Chinese carriers offered charter services to the North but those also have been canceled.


Zhang said the last Air China flight to Pyongyang was Monday and he didn’t know when service might resume.


The status of Air Koryo’s flights was unclear. Phone calls to the carrier’s Beijing office weren’t answered. The flight information website for the Beijing airport showed its Pyongyang flight on Tuesday took off as scheduled.

Lu, the foreign ministry spokesman, appealed for measures to ease the tense standoff.


“Given the highly complex and sensitive situation on the peninsula, we hope all relevant parties can do something conducive to alleviating the tension and pulling all sides concerned back to the track of negotiation and dialogue to settle the peninsular nuclear issue,” he said at a regular news briefing.

Whether it's true or not, Trump has shown himself more than willing to take credit for any signs of a chill in relations between the North and China. For example, he boasted about having secured assurances from President Xi that China would continue to help isolated the North's economy. Though many have speculated that Xi is just flattering his American rival, and that China has no intention of squeezing the North. 


coast1 Tue, 11/21/2017 - 23:33 Permalink

off topic to the max, but I need to talk to you guys and I finally got online and really need your thoughts..I think that infowars "knockout" produt is good..mellow, and its not a "knockout" its just the usual sensationalism from aj, but I like it. I wanted to order more, and at 50% off I went to infowars to buy it...35 bucks, and 5-7 days shipping...Out of the blue, I went to Amazon. Same exact product, with infowrs logo etc for 20 bucks and will be here for free in two days.. I dont understand..the only thing I know is the deep state is paying all of amazons bills...most of them anyway?   Just thought I would share this info, I like the comment section on ZH more than the articles lol...we should all be sharing our interesting experiences...I know, start my own website, blah blah, I plan to.

coast1 BarkingCat Tue, 11/21/2017 - 23:50 Permalink

aaarg, i know...grrrr.. you are correct...and I agree.  But I was just making a point...The point is, I am thinking amazon is the NWO to control us, and trying to let people know about it. The only reason I can think of that amazon can sell products for so cehap is because the dep state finances them...New recent articles about them getting our tax dollars etc. 

In reply to by BarkingCat

Cabreado Tue, 11/21/2017 - 23:35 Permalink

Not sure what the mystery is... China has clearly decided that it's better to shut Kim down in face-saving ways than to mess with the US.

Laughing.Man Cabreado Tue, 11/21/2017 - 23:53 Permalink

My guess would be the OBOR.  IIRC, there's suppose to be a rail link from South Korea.  I remember reading about Chinese businessmen commenting that the Norks are still stuck in the 50s and doing business with them was a pain in the ass.  I also wouldn't be surprised that Beijing is getting tried of being held hostage by Pyongyang.

In reply to by Cabreado

roddy6667 Laughing.Man Wed, 11/22/2017 - 01:28 Permalink

A lot of Chinese businesses have or use factories in North Korea. My daughter-in-law used to go into NK to inspect garments at the factories. The biggest problem they had was trying to get the people to working longer days. They got paid once a month for a normal workweek. There was no way to change this to pay them more for the extra hours. Very inflexible suystem. The workers just refused to work longer hours. Understandable.The whole idea that there are no direct flights from China to NK is a red herring. It won't change much at all. Most people would fly to Dandong, cross the border, and take a NK train to where they are going. People travel by train there. Cars are rare, the streets are empty. Just pedestrians and bicycles. Travel by air is for heads of state and very rich tourists.

In reply to by Laughing.Man

ChaoKrungThep Cabreado Wed, 11/22/2017 - 02:50 Permalink

NK is a Chinese buffer, so it won't be abandoned. NK might even outlast the US... Americans don't understand Asian geopolitics, especially re the Chinese. It's their backyard, they're well known, understood and trusted. You whiteys are sneaky stupid tresspassers who'll soon be gone. Who would you back in this game?Zai jian. 

In reply to by Cabreado

Manipuflation Tue, 11/21/2017 - 23:58 Permalink

Well, I don't get too excited about the Olympics but I do watch the hockey because I live in Minnesota.  We have some trouble as team USA and we shouldn't. on, the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center is just down the road from here.  I saw the skid marks where Brooks died on I-35 near Forest Lake.  I really think the NHL should let them play it out.  All nations.  Mrs. M is already getting her Russian flag out and you know that the Canucks are going to bring in talent.  We are sending in the C- team? Not acceptible.

I am Groot Wed, 11/22/2017 - 00:08 Permalink

I can't believe someone would pass up flying to luxurious North Korea for some fine dining on grassclippings, dirt and fish heads. China is looking at the big, long term picture. The US could say Hey China, we're gonna stop buying your high quality rubber dogshit and defective lead painted products. We can go get those from India, Vietnam, South Korea and every other third world shithole in the world. China would collapse overnight. China says to US, ok we take care of Fatty Kim for you, let's go get some pork flied lice. You still #1 Joe ! As they continue hacking the living shit out of us and stealing everything electronic that is nailed down.Nobody wants 20,00-30,000 dead on the Korean penensula for every day of fighting. And if the US really undersetimates Short Dong, and if he managed to EMP the US, we are fucked sideways with a cactus with no lube. The Neocons bark is a lot weaker when someone is holding a junkyard dog the same size as ours.

Ali blabla Wed, 11/22/2017 - 01:14 Permalink

there where 2 evils .. trump and clinton .. but hey you get what you vote for.. it says it all .. dumb ass trump.. the worst off all.. first talkimg about stocks being inflated.. now he boast about it .. the guy is sooo stupid it is embarrasing.. and all the companies that spy on us? from the us.. I am from western europe but even i begin to believe that te us is evil.. its laughable ... trump, kim jung un.. the world is indeed crazy

Come On Puu See Wed, 11/22/2017 - 03:41 Permalink


Davidduke2000 Wed, 11/22/2017 - 04:13 Permalink

Airlines need to make profits and if there is no demand why to keep going to NK? China is still supplying NK with food, Russians companies are supplying the gas and oil, what type of isolation tyler is talking about? both countries that share borders with NK would not want to allow trump to have a puppet regime at their borders.

lakecity55 Wed, 11/22/2017 - 04:22 Permalink

What if the sanctions cut deep enough that Kim decides it is an attack by other means?He can then launch his missiles.Hopefully he will only respond to a direct military attack.This is still a Chinese puzzle for the Chinese to solve, imo.