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No passengers aboard N.K. flight to Bangkok: sources

All News 11:12 April 29, 2016

BANGKOK/SEOUL, April 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's flag carrier Air Koryo flew to Bangkok with no passengers aboard, multiple sources said Friday, indicating what could be the latest enforcement of U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang.

The Air Koryo flight JS253 flies once a week from Pyongyang to Bangkok via China's northeastern city of Shenyang, carrying mostly Chinese tourists bound for the Thai capital.

On Wednesday, however, the aircraft was empty except for the pilots and airline staff, according to one airline industry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The official said it appeared to be the last flight on the route that opened in January.

North Korea has come under tough U.N. sanctions over its banned nuclear and long-range rocket tests earlier this year. The sanctions aim to starve the Pyongyang regime of the resources it needs to develop its nuclear and missile programs, and the effective boycott of the Air Koryo flight could be the latest step in that campaign.

On Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed his country's commitment to the full implementation of the U.N. sanctions, saying Beijing will not tolerate war or chaos on the Korean Peninsula.

Chinese officials responsible for recruiting passengers for the Shenyang-Bangkok flight recently expressed their desire to quit, according to a South Korean government source.

Thailand approved the U.N. sanctions resolution on April 19 and warned of possible implications for Thai companies doing business with North Korea and North Korea-operated flights.

hague@yna.co.kr
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