Foreign scribes stranded in N. Korea amid unexplained flight delays

Indo Asian News Service

Pyongyang, April 17 (IANS) North Korea's state-owned airline Air Koryo delayed its flights from Pyongyang to Russia and China without explanation. Foreign journalists were among those stranded in the airport, NK News reported on Monday.

Flights to Vladivostok, Beijing, and Shenyang were delayed on Monday, with airline authorities failing to provide a reason.

The Russian embassy posted an announcement on Facebook that Air Koryo had delayed the flights while providing "no rational basis for the delays".

"Over 30 Russian nationals are waiting at (the) departure lounge," the announcement stated, adding that diplomats were monitoring the situation.

"We strive to get an update from the North Korean Foreign Ministry and air service and demand that Russian citizens take their flights on designated routes," the Facebook post continues.

Meanwhile, NK News reported that some of its journalists, along with other foreign reporters, were among those who scheduled to travel on Air Koryo Flight JS 151 to Beijing. Other affected journalists include those from CBC, CBS, the LA Times, and Russia 24.

The journalists were in North Korea to cover the 105th birthday event of former leader Kim Il-sung and the military parade that followed.

The Air Koryo office in Beijing said the delays were being caused by bad weather, with NK News reporting that a local airport security officer was overheard telling a tourist that it was due to "rain clouds" in Pyongyang.

However, weather in Pyongyang appeared to be clear on Monday.

Air Koryo, headquartered at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport, operates flights to 23 destinations in Asia.