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N Korea restricts Chinese tour groups ahead of anniversary: report

AFP  |  Seoul 

will suspend Chinese tour group visits to ahead of next month, according to reports today.

The told a Chinese tourist agency that hotels in would be closed for renovations for 20 days starting Saturday, according to South Korean

Another North Korean travel agency informed their Chinese partner that an unspecified "state decision" meant they had to stop receiving Chinese tour group package travellers until September 5, the reports said.

has in the past restricted entry to foreigner tourists as the country prepares for significant events, giving a variety of reasons for the moves, reported.

The latest measure comes as the North prepares to mark

In his New Year speech in January, leader said North Korean people would "greet the 70th founding as a great, auspicious event".

The North has been preparing for the arrival of foreign delegations and thousands of North Korean citizens have reportedly been practising choreographed movements in for the official celebration of the anniversary.

In part thanks to a recent diplomatic thaw, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the North has rapidly increased.

Between 1,000 and 2,000 tourists are currently visiting popular sites such as the North's side of the demilitarized zone in a single day, NK News, an provider, said.

The surge in Chinese tourism may have been seen by North Korean authorities as straining Pyongyang's ahead of the anniversary, it added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, August 11 2018. 08:40 IST