Foreign journalists in North Korea gather for "big event" amid tensions

By Reuters
April 14,2017
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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov speaks during the annual end-of-year news conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, December 23, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's national airline, Air China, has cancelled some flights to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, due to poor demand but it has not suspended all flights there, it said on Friday, denying a report by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

CCTV had reported that all flights run by the airline between the two cities were to be suspended indefinitely.

"Air China did not stop operation of the Beijing to Pyongyang route, but temporarily cancelled some flights based on the situation of ticket sales," said a person in Air China's communications team.

Subsequent flights would be scheduled according to ticket sales, the official said.

Air China's flights, which operate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, began in 2008 but have frequently been cancelled due to unspecified problems, CCTV's report said.

China is North Korea's sole major ally but it disapproves of the North's weapons programmes, and its confrontations with the United States and its Asian allies, and it has supported U.N. sanctions against it.

Following repeated missile tests that drew international criticism, China banned all imports of North Korean coal on Feb. 26, cutting off the country's most important export product.

(Reporting by Dominique Patton and Brenda Goh; Editing by Robert Birsel and Hugh Lawson)