|The New Amnokgang Bridge that was designed to connect China's Dandong New Zone, Liaoning Province, and North Korea's Sinuiju. Korea Times file|
North Korea has yet to reopen its land border with China amid indications of brisk preparations to ease lockdown measures attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Seoul's unification ministry Monday.
South Korea has been closely monitoring signs of the North reopening its border, which has remained closed for nearly two years due to the virus crisis.
"Signs of preparations to resume trade have been continuously detected, but it's not at a stage to say trade has resumed or the North Korea-China border lockdown has been lifted," ministry spokesperson Lee Jong-joo told a regular press briefing.
Earlier this month, local media broadcast footage of a train crossing the bridge over the Amnok River connecting Sinuiju in North Korea to the Chinese port city of Dandong.
"We are monitoring the situation attentively, as the North's easing of border lockdown would result in better environment for cooperation between the two Koreas or with the international community," Lee said.
South Korea and the United States are coordinating humanitarian assistance to North Korea, though Pyongyang has remained unresponsive to Washington's dialogue overtures.
During Monday's briefing, Lee expressed disappointment over little progress in inter-Korean talks as Pyongyang stays silent on Seoul's proposal to set up a virtual conference system for dialogue.
"We find it regretful that the restoration of the communication channel has yet to result in setting up the infrastructure for dialogue, such as the video conferencing system as we proposed, or in substantive talks in different areas," she said. (Yonhap)