May 22 - North Korea opens new shipping route to bring Chinese tourists to the coastal Mount Kumgang resort. Paul Chapman reports.
These Chinese tourists arriving in port in North Korea are part of Pyongyang's hopes of a cash boost. They've arrived by a new shipping route the impoverished state hopes will lead to a tourism revival. Their destination is the Mount Kumgang resort opened in 1998 as a symbol of reconciliation between North and South Korea. Fifteen years on, tensions between them are running high. Here at least the North has found favour among its Chinese visitors, some of whom said it was trip worth making. (SOUNDBITE)(Mandarin) YANG JI, CHINESE TOURIST FROM JILIN PROVINCE, SAYING: "Yes, I think so. After I go back I'll definitely recommend it to my friends and family. They must come here to visit." On Wednesday one of North Korea's top military officials jetted off to Beijing. Choe Ryong-hae's visit comes at a time of strained relations between the North and its only major diplomatic ally. China backed U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang in response to the nuclear test it carried out in February. The Bank of China's also said it's ceased dealings with the North Korean Foreign Trade Bank seen as a conduit for Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.