At least 36 dead following bus crash in North Korea

Over 30 dead in tour bus accident in North Korea: sources

Chinese FM confirms 'many casualties' in North Korea tourist bus crash

"The Chinese Embassy in North Korea was informed by the DPRK that a serious traffic accident occurred on North Korea's Huanghai Road at night, causing heavy casualties to Chinese tourists", the foreign ministry said, adding that "relevant details are now being verified".

State television's main Chinese-language news channel showed images of a crashed blue bus with its wheels in the air, in footage taken in pouring rain in the dark.

The crash, which also killed four North Koreans, happened in North Hwanghae province on Sunday night.

Experts estimate that Chinese tourists make up 80% of foreign tourists to North Korea - providing an important source of currency for Pyongyang. "The Working Group of the Chinese Embassy in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, accompanied by the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, rushed to the scene of the incident".

Authorities of both countries have been making every effort to rescue the victims at the site and are in close communication to clarify the details of the accident, Kang said. But trade has fallen by roughly 90 per cent China is North Korea's biggest trading partner.

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China, known as North Korea's main economic lifeline, used to account for almost 90 percent of the neighboring country's external trade.

While concrete figures are hard to come by, the number of Chinese visitors to North Korea could be as high as 100,000 a year, said Simon Cockerell, general manager of Koryo Tours, one of the major tour operators for non-Chinese visitors to North Korea. The location for that historic meeting - the first between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader - has not yet been confirmed.

North Korea attracts a significant number of Chinese tourists from its fellow communist neighbor, worth about $44 million in additional annual revenue to Pyongyang.

North Korean roads are often bumpy and poorly maintained.

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