China: Many Chinese dead, hurt in North Korea traffic crash

BEIJING (AP) — A large number of Chinese tourists have been killed and injured in a “major traffic accident” in North Korea, China’s foreign ministry said Monday.

Details on the number of dead and injured weren’t immediately available, although the Chinese government’s Work Safety Administration defines a “major accident” as one involving between 10 and 30 people killed or 50 to 100 injured.

The crash occurred Sunday night in North Hwanghae province, south of Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, the ministry said in a brief statement.

Chinese diplomats reached in Pyongyang said they would issue a statement later.

Footage on Chinese state broadcaster CCTV showed the mangled wreckage of a bus in the dark with rain falling. Rescue vehicles were on the scene, and injured were shown being treated in hospital.

China and North Korea share a lengthy border. China is North Korea’s largest trading partner, although commerce has dropped off by about 90 percent under United Nations sanctions.

Chinese tourists are among the largest groups of visitors to the isolated, hard-line communist state, often paying homage at sites related to China’s military intervention in the 1950-53 Korean War.