China says 36 dead in North Korean traffic accident

BEIJING (AP) — A traffic accident in southern North Korea has killed 32 Chinese tourists and four North Koreans, Chinese officials said Monday.

The accident occurred Sunday night in North Hwanghae province, south of Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

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.

Details on the dead and injured and the circumstances of the accident were not immediately disclosed. Chinese diplomats reached in Pyongyang said they would issue a statement later.

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.