For the first time in two years, a North Korean freight train crossed the Friendship Bridge on the Amrok River on Sunday to enter the Chinese border city of Dandong in Liaoning Province.
The isolated regime has imposed strict virus prevention measures, including border closures and domestic travel curbs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
It's unclear whether the train, which departed from Sinuiju, was carrying any cargo into China but will reportedly be returning to North Korea on Monday loaded with "emergency supplies" and will continue to make the trip on a daily basis for the time being.
Yonhap News reports it's the first time during the pandemic that the regime has formally opened its land border with China with one unnamed source from the South Korean government saying the train crossing marks the official resumption of trade between the two.
South Korean officials had said late last year that the return of cross-border rail traffic could be a signal that restrictions are loosening.
Reuters reports that according to the United Nations, some humanitarian aid is trickling into the regime, though key shipments like food remain blocked.
Several supplies of nutritional and medical aid that arrived by sea entered after up to three months of quarantine at Nampo Port, but there have been no previous confirmations of major shipments arriving by train.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.