China has prepared for the resumption of regular vehicle transportation services between a border city and North Korea, which have been suspended for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as Beijing reopened its borders and abandoned quarantine measures on Sunday.

Non-regular vehicle transportation services between the border city of Hunchun in northeast China's Jilin Province and North Korea appear to have resumed late last year, with at least one truck carrying rice and shoes entering Wonjong-ri on the North Korean side via a bridge over the Tumen River, local Chinese officials said.

Photo taken on Jan. 8, 2023, shows a bridge connecting Hunchun in northeast China's Jilin Province and Wonjong-ri in North Korea. (Kyodo)

Several dozen officials were working at an immigration facility in Hunchun on Sunday. Local authorities had also begun accepting traders' applications for cross-border transaction procedures.

In September 2020, North Korea stopped land transportation to and from China to stem the COVID-19 spread.

A freight train service between the North's Sinuiju and China's Dandong resumed in January last year but was suspended again three months later amid a COVID-19 outbreak in the Chinese border city. The operation fully restarted last September.

China is the North's closest and most influential ally in economic terms.

Pyongyang is eager to expand bilateral trade but has been cautious about an increase in vehicle traffic amid fears that infected truck drivers could bring the virus into the country, according to North Korean sources familiar with the matter.